Paul Heckingbottom hopes it is Barnsley's turn for late script change

FOR managers on the receiving end of a painful early-season derby defeat, a mental note or two is often made long before the re-match.

Jonathan Hogg is mobbed by team-mates after scoring Huddersfield Towns late winner against Barnsley back in August (Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe).

Paul Heckingbottom counts himself firmly among that number with his memories of a bitter late denouement for his Barnsley side at the John Smith’s Stadium back on August 20 being lodged in his mind for the past six months ahead of Saturday’s return match with Huddersfield Town.

The countdown for the reverse fixture at Oakwell mentally began for Heckingbottom as soon as the final whistle went in West Yorkshire, shortly after a rare goal from Jonathan Hogg earned Town a dramatic 2-1 stoppage-time win.

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More than most, Heckingbottom has particular reason to rue what he believes to be one of the major reasons why Huddersfield are enjoying what is shaping up to be their most memorable season at this level in almost half a century.

Namely, Town’s ability to win games late on, a priceless knack for any promotion-aspiring side.

He would much prefer it if that penchant was reversed at Oakwell on Saturday, with the clock going around and Barnsley firing a late winner instead.

Relishing derby day, Heckingbottom said: “I have been looking forward to it since they scored in the 96th minute. I wanted to play them on the following weekend.

“I have been looking forward to it for a long time and I hope everyone has been the same.

“I would rather that was our feeling (at the end) and that the roles were reversed on Saturday.”

All told, Town have plundered 12 goals in the final 15 minutes of Championship matches in 2016-17 – while conceding just five times – with late goals earning them wins in their last two home games against Reading and Leeds United and also on away trips to Rotherham United and Wigan Athletic already in 2017.

It is an irresistible habit as Heckingbottom can dolefully vouch.

Heckingbottom said: “What I have seen about them – and they have had it all season from when they beat us in the first game – is they have had so many late goals and this is not to say they are a lucky side, because they are not.

“They work hard and earn everything that they get, and they have a bit about them where they are winning games near the end.

“That shows to me that they are going to be up there to the end. Fair play to them.”

Heckingbottom will be away from his customary position patrolling the home technical area on Saturday, instead having to settle for a watching brief in the West Stand due to a one-match touchline ban.

The 39-year-old was handed his punishment by a Football Association disciplinary panel after being sent to the stands after confronting Wolverhampton Wanderers coaching staff during a brief altercation during the second half of the 3-1 home loss to the Midlanders on January 31. The Oakwell chief met with officials regarding his charge at Wembley on Monday.

The Reds’ chief – who will communicate via an earpiece with assistant head coach Jamie Clapham – fully accepts his punishment, but admits that being away from the action will be frustrating and challenging for him.

Heckingbottom, who will again be without key midfielder Josh Scowen at the weekend, said: “It will probably be only me who suffers and I will hate it. But the players will be in contact with the bench, no problem.

“Although half of the players blank you anyway – or they try to. Unless you are telling them something good, they try and ignore you anyway.”