Barnsley 0 Preston North End 0: Paul Heckingbottom says next game counts – not talk of play-offs

Barnsley manager Paul Heckingbottom (Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe).
Barnsley manager Paul Heckingbottom (Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe).
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Barnsley remain in the hunt for the play-offs despite being held by fellow play-off chasers Preston.

Reds head coach Paul Heckingbottom admitted a draw was the most his side deserved at Oakwell.

He said after a result which leaves them four points adrift of sixth-placed Sheffield Wednesday, having played a game more: “I was pleased with how we coped with their threats but I didn’t feel that we did enough to win the game.

“We didn’t cause them enough problems so it is probably a fair result. There were not enough crosses into the box, not enough efforts on goal and that is literally it. I said at half-time I was conscious that I didn’t want Preston to grind us down, because the team they picked and the message from Simon (Grayson) at the start of the game was that he wanted a tougher, more aggressive performance.

“I don’t even speak about the top six. It is about winning the next game, so it has not even entered my head.

“I just know how much work we have got to do with the players that we have got in here. It is about getting better quickly and seeing how good a team we can be.”

Tom Bradshaw went closest for the Tykes, who dropped down to ninth place, seeing a close-range effort cleared off the line in the second half.

Adam Davies then denied Preston a win at the death. Jordan Hugill rose highest to meet a free-kick but the Barnsley goalkeeper clawed the ball out of the top right corner.

The result means North End have failed to score in successive league games for the first time since March, 2016.

Grayson still has hopes of reaching the play-offs, even though his Preston side sit seven points adrift.

Grayson said: “There are plenty of games still to go and there will be so many twists and turns from now until the end of the season. We will just keep plodding along as we have done all season.

“We have aspirations to try and get there (the play-offs), but obviously we will need to turn these draws into wins if we are going to make up the ground on teams that are up there already.

“I think it was probably a fair result. I don’t think that either team really created too many clear chances.

“Neither team really had that cutting edge to go and break down two resilient defensive performances today.

“These games just hinge on a little bit of magic from somebody, and we never really had that little bit of quality.

“Most people would have thought there would be goals, but to everybody’s surprise there are two clean sheets. That happens in the Championship. You have to work hard to earn the points.”

Barnsley: Davies, Jones, Roberts, MacDonald, Elder, Watkins, James, Scowen, Kent (Hedges 83), Armstrong, Bradshaw (Hammill 69). Unused substitutes: Moncur, Lee, Townsend, Evans, Adam Jackson.

Preston North End: Maxwell, Browning, Clarke, Huntington, Cunningham, McGeady, Browne, Pearson, Gallagher (Robinson 66), Hugill, Makienok (Beckford 72). Unused substitutes: Lindegaard, Vermijl, Horgan, Johnson, May.

Referee: O Langford (W Midlands).