PAUL HECKINGBOTTOM has praised the attitude of Barnsley defender Alfie Mawson in the wake of ongoing speculation linking him with a reunion with Lee Johnson at Bristol City.
The Reds reportedly rejected a £1m bid from the Robins, managed by ex-Oakwell chief Johnson, for the 22-year-old last month, with other Championship clubs believed to be monitoring his situation.
The Londoner, outstanding in the second half of last season, is keeping focused ahead of his maiden campaign at Championship level with Barnsley and their manager Heckingbottom is confident that will continue.
Heckingbottom, who says that the club have no desire to sell star assets Mawson, captain Conor Hourihane and striker Sam Winnall – and will only contemplate letting them go if they receive an outrageous offer – said: “It is constant speculation (with Mawson). The one thing he has done is put it to one side when he has been playing and he has been good.
“I speak to him regularly about it and he knows what he has got to do, which is play well. If he plays well, then people come in and may make a bid that the club are happy with. But until that moment comes, his responsibility and duty is to prepare and play the best that he can as he has not got there on his own; his team-mates have helped him get there.
“I have said to a few of the players that they are responsible for any moves they get. It is down to how they play on a Saturday.”
Meanwhile, the club have agreed a deal to sign trialist midfielder Sessi D’Almeida – with the move likely to be completed once international clearance is received.
The Frenchman, 20, a free agent after leaving Paris St Germain, has impressed on trial.
On D’Almeida, capped at full international level by Benin, Heckingbottom said: “We will look to bring Sessi in.
“When it comes through, I don’t know, as international clearance will be required, which can take a long time.
“But he will come in as someone to push. He is still only 20 and has shown some good qualities. If we bring him in, it is up to him to try and fight for a place and show he deserves a place in the squad.
“He is athletic and brings a lot of energy and has good aggression to his game and is technically a good player.”
Heckingbottom is seeking several more signings to boost his squad further this month.