MENTION of the W word is strictly off limits as far as Paul Heckingbottom is concerned.
The glittering prize that awaits Barnsley, should they dispose of Derby County this evening, is a round-three date at Wembley against Tottenham Hotspur in seven days’ time – not that the Reds head coach has been willing to think of that potential scenario just yet.
A return to the home of football would allow both Heckingbottom and Barnsley to reacquaint themselves with an esteemed venue which saw them claim silverware twice in the space of 56 days in the spring of 2016, but the Reds chief is staying typically grounded.
On the incentive of another Wembley date, Heckingbottom, who is likely to make changes and refreshen up his side tonight with several members of his squad in need of games, said: “Lots of people have been on about it, but I have honestly not even thought about it. And I will not.
“If we get the result we are after, brilliant. That gives us another game and another opportunity and a different opposition who we are not going to play again.
“But I am speaking 100 per cent truth in saying that I have not even thought about that and it does not interest me one little bit yet.
“My thoughts are on which team I am going to pick (against Derby) and the information I am going to give the players.”
Meanwhile, Heckingbottom has spoken of his dismay for Oli McBurnie after paperwork issues scuppered his loan move to Barnsley from Swansea City.
The Reds were told last Thursday that McBurnie, whose deadline-day switch was seemingly completed with minutes to spare on August 31, had been rejected by the Football League.
Heckingbottom, who could revisit the move in January, said: “It was not nice to ring him on (last) Thursday afternoon.
“I actually could not get in contact with him when I first found out as he was viewing a house and I think he was close to putting an offer in and signing some papers.
“For it to not happen, I just feel for him at the minute.”
Last six games: Barnsley WLWLWD; Derby LWWWLW.
Referee: E Ilderton (Tyne & Wear)
Last time: Barnsley 2 Derby 0, August 13, 2016; Championship.