Heckingbottom held transfer talks with the Reds’ new owners last week and has confirmed that money is available to spend.
After a summer transfer policy that revolved around building a new squad with young players with sell-on potential, the Barnsley boss now believes that bringing in Championship-ready signings to make an immediate first-team impact must be the new year focus.
Heckingbottom, whose side are three points above third-from-bottom Sunderland and visit them on Monday, said: “We signed a hell of a lot of players from the lower leagues in the summer who we are taking a chance on and want to see develop and get the benefit of them growing together now.
“But we also need signings to make our first 11 better as soon as they come through the door. That is the difference.
“For me, unless we are making a real good judgment call, there is no real benefit in signing players with potential in this window. Everyone knows the positions we are looking for and it is a case of ‘get looking’.”
After a problematic and somewhat chaotic transfer window at the start of the year, Heckingbottom’s desire to avoid a replication is considerable.
But despite being understandably keen for some early incoming business, he admits that it is unlikely.
The Reds chief has a long-standing interest in Swansea City striker Oliver McBurnie, whose hopes of a move to Oakwell were dashed due to paperwork issues on the summer deadline day.
It remains to be seen if the club can resurrect a deal, with the Leeds-born forward having made his top-flight bow on Boxing Day.
Heckingbottom also admits the prospect of Leicester City recalling key loanee Harvey Barnes is a very real one.
On the likelihood of early signings, he said: “If I am being realistic, no. Should it, yes – it should happen on the first and be done.
“He (McBurnie) is their player and we cannot do anything about that. It is up to them (Swansea).
“We will have to wait and see (with Barnes). That could happen at the beginning of January.
“That would leave us short and, as a priority, we must have our players (signings) ready to come in.”