Hard work is the key to Barnsley’s continued success, according to manager Paul Heckingbottom.
The Tykes may sit in the bottom half of the Sky Bet Championship table heading into their lunchtime clash with Leeds on Saturday – live on Sky Sports Football – but that doesn’t the full story of a club that Heckingbottom has had to rebuild again in the last year.
“I do get jealous of the resource of some clubs, but it’s not always a guarantee of success,” he told Sky Sports.
“I got told that when we played Burton [last month] the average age of our squad was 21-and-a-half. It’s ridiculous really. In five years they might enter their prime, so imagine being able to work with this group until then and have them all enter their prime together, that would be something special. Unfortunately, though, the chances of that happening are very slim.
“Our aim is to evolve, we had 17 out about 12 in over the summer, then another five in at the end of August, so this group hasn’t been together for three months yet and we’ve already made massive strides forward.
Highlights of the Sky Bet Championship match between Barnsley and Cardiff
“It is hard but there’s no cheat and you don’t get anywhere without hard work. Everybody works hard here to make everything count, with every penny and in every training session. It brings an alignment throughout the club as there’s a desire not to waste anything.
“New players here are stepping into an environment that’s black and white, they know what their role is and it’s about working hard to be as good as you can, but also knowing you’ll get the support to achieve that.”
Barnsley beat Leeds 3-2 at Oakwell in January, but it will be a very different home line-up this time around. However, Heckingbottom doesn’t believe that will dent the atmosphere or his side’s chances in the match.
Barnsley vs Leeds
November 25, 2017, 12:00pm
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“It’s a local derby and the cameras will be there,” he said. “Leeds will bring thousands, we’ll be full at Oakwell and it will be a great atmosphere and a good game.
“I always want to put one over any team in the Championship, but the atmosphere of a derby is always different. We’ve embraced playing the big clubs and we’ll look forward to doing so again.”
Don’t miss the Sky Bet Championship clash between Barnsley and Leeds on Saturday, live on Sky Sports Football and Sky Sports Main Event from 12pm