CARETAKER manager Paul Heckingbottom acknowledges that Barnsley have “missed a trick” in leaving themselves open to transfer raids from a host of rival clubs for several of their leading players this month.
Following the exit of Sam Winnall to Sheffield Wednesday, Reds fans are bracing themselves for more bids and potential departures, with speculation rife regarding the future of captain Conor Hourihane, linked with a number of clubs, including the Owls and Aston Villa.
Like Winnall, play-maker Hourihane sees his Oakwell deal expire in the summer, with Heckingbottom admitting that the Reds have been the victims of their own success with a number of key players kicking on their careers at a rate of knots before longer-term deals have been struck.
He said: “We have to be good to see that and capitalise on that and good enough to not be in this position again because, while we have done tremendously well in a short space of time, everything has to be done for the long-term benefit of the club.
“If we find ourselves in this position again in terms of players coming into the last year of their contracts and who are so valuable, we have missed a trick somewhere. To gain maximum value of your players, the timing of when you sell them is key and who you have under (long-term) contract is key. But the success in such a short space of time has really caught everyone on the hop.
“The way we have kicked on again this season in a totally different league and audience is one that the players have opened themselves up to.
“We, as a football club, can only compete so much financially and the players are now looking at all their possible options.”
On the incoming front, Heckingbottom says he still remains confident of bringing Sam Morsy to the club on a full-time basis, with the club “spinning plates” regarding new arrivals.
“Plates are spinning to bring in several players regardless (of exits). I think we have to be of that mindset as you never know what is going to happen,” he said.