IF fans’ thoughts on Barnsley occupying a comfortable Championship mid-table berth at Christmas were canvassed, the chances are that the vast majority would say that the club were doing much better than expected.
Paul Heckingbottom counts himself as being in the minority, with the Reds’ head coach constantly striving for more and devout in his belief that the club could be higher.
On the season so far for Barnsley, who have not finished in the top half of the Championship since 2000, Heckingbottom said: “We are not above my personal expectations and I would hope to be higher and we will try and get higher.
“Probably if you looked in terms of resources and experience of players and coaching staff in this league and the money we have got and spend on the budget and wages we pay, we probably should not be anywhere near where we are.
“If you accept that they are your limitations, then you are going to fail. We try to flip that as we know what qualities we have got as a group. I include everyone in that at the club – not just the players.
“There’s some real good people who over-achieve here. But it is about having winners and the more you can have in a football club, the better.”
Opportunity knocks for the Reds by way of successive home games with Blackburn and Birmingham and it would be somewhat fitting if the Oakwell outfit could round off a remarkable year in suitable fashion.
Of Blackburn, Heckingbottom added: “From what I have seen in the past couple of months, they have been performing great.”
Last six games: Barnsley DLWWLW Blackburn WWDLLL.
Referee: A Madley (West Yorkshire).
Last time: Barnsley 2 Blackburn 2; January 28, 2014; Championship.