BARNSLEY caretaker head coach Paul Harsley has paid tribute to the attitude of the Reds’ players for retaining their focus during an unsettling week following the shock departure of Paul Heckingbottom to Leeds United.
Harsley admitted he did harbour an initial ‘slight concern’ about the mindset of the squad after he was asked to take the team on Monday evening and prepare for Saturday’s derby with Sheffield Wednesday, but says that the players’ response from his first session on Tuesday morning onwards was first-class.
The club are in the process of finalising a short-list after receiving a stack of applications for the permanent head coach position, with interviews due to take place this week with a view to an appointment before the home game with Burton tomorrow week.
Harsley’s own potential claims were boosted by a bright performance from the Reds on Saturday, when they had the better of the 1-1 draw with Wednesday.
On whether he wishes to be a candidate for the full-time post, Harsley, speaking after Saturday’s draw, said: “They are not decisions for me. I was asked to do this game and I have done it in the best way I could in a short space of time.
“I guess the ten days now that the club have got to appoint a manager will be crucial to where the club are going in the future.”
Praising the attitude of the players, he added: “It has been perfect, absolutely brilliant. It was a slight concern of mine on Monday night when I got the call. But on Tuesday morning, that was gone and the lads were flying and I was just gutted we did not get the three points to round off a great week.”
“After the game, I said to the lads: ‘I can’t thank you for your efforts enough’. They have been first class; they could have easily had their heads turned with what has gone, but I do not feel they have and their response to me has been fantastic.”
Owls head coach Jos Luhukay is still awaiting his first league victory after five matches in charge and has urged his side to discover a clinical edge in their quest to pull away from trouble in the bottom half of the Championship.
He said: “We scored the penalty (from Atdhe Nuhiu), but we could not hang on to the lead. I think we had two good chances in the second half, but we did not take our chances.
“We must score more goals. We had the chances. We had five or six opportunities where we could have scored and we must work on that.”
I guess the ten days now that the club have got to appoint a manager will be crucial to where the club are going in the future.”Barnsley stand-in coach, Paul Harsley