Key lessons must be learned, says Barnsley manager Paul Heckingbottom

Barnsley's manager Paul HeckingbottomBarnsley's manager Paul Heckingbottom
Barnsley's manager Paul Heckingbottom
IT MAY have been a dream first year in charge for Barnsley head coach Paul Heckingbottom, but do not let it be said that he is wholly satisfied.

He is rightfully delighted with the club’s dual Wembley successes in the second half of a remarkable 2015-16 campaign and the Reds’ equally impressive re-introduction to Championship life. But Heckingbottom still believes that some key lessons must be learned in order for the club to become stronger.

Heckingbottom, who celebrated his first anniversary on Tuesday, feels that more structured planning regarding the futures of contracted players is necessary to avoid a repeat of last month when the club were forced to cash in on Conor Hourihane, James Bree and Sam Winnall, whose deals were all due to expire in June.

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He is now effectively attempting to build another side, with several other leading players due to be out of contract this coming summer.

Reflecting on the past year, Heckinbottom said: “It was some rise for the football club. But I think along the way that we understood what we did well and it is a case of replicating that again and building on it and becoming even stronger.

“But the more we can get right behind the scenes and building a team and the more structured and seamless it is, then I would like to think we would have a better team. We have to hope that, next January, there is the same speculation about our players as it shows we are doing well.

“But we have to be ready for that in having less (players) out of contract and if we are selling a player, it is one player and getting the maximum value and reinvesting some of that money again to build.”

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He will continue to monitor highly-rated Chester defender Sam Hughes, despite seeing a bid rejected last month.

Hughes will be out of contract in the summer, with Chester chief executive Mark Maguire confident that the Blues will receive a higher figure than Barnsley offered at a tribunal if the 19-year-old opts to leave.

Andy Yiadom is now back with the Reds after his African Cup of Nations campaign with Ghana and is in the mix for tomorrow’s game at Reading.