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Embrace the pressure and the tension – Barnsley boss Paul Heckingbottom

2 April 2016

Paul Heckingbottom will be telling his players to embrace the magnitude of a cup final at Wembley as they prepare to take on Oxford United in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy on Sunday.

The Tykes boss has Trophy experience in his support staff, with coach Tommy Wright having won the competition while at Chesterfield.

Heckingbottom has been using the advice given to him, and he will be urging his players to take to the Wembley turf with smiles on their faces.

And that's the message he will also relay to his troops for rest of the season, with the Reds chasing a Sky Bet League 1 Play-Off spot.

“It’s about enjoying the occasion and that’s the message we need to get across to the players every game,” he told “They have to embrace the pressure and the tension.

“Unlike a Play-Off Final, there is not nearly as much at stake but anything we’ve tried to do with the players has been about enjoying it.

“I think the lads have given everything. It might be in their mind subconsciously as the tension and everything builds up but every game between now and the end of the season is huge.

“We’re chasing a massive prize, or two massive prizes should I say, but you can’t question the commitment or the work rate of the players.”

Read more: Johnstone's Paint Trophy Final preview

Barnsley warmed up for the Trophy final by picking up four points over the Easter period, courtesy of a 0-0 draw with Scunthorpe United and a 1-0 victory at Port Vale.

Striker Sam Winnall and midfielder Marley Watkins – two key players for the Tykes – missed those games through injury, but Heckingbottom will give both every opportunity to prove their fitness ahead of Sunday's showdown.

“They’re great lads and deserve every chance to get fit because they’ve played a great part in our season and will continue to play a big part between now and the end of the season.

“If they aren’t ready, we’ll have to pick them up and get them ready for the last seven league games.”

Don't miss it!

The Johnstone's Paint Trophy Final will be covered on The Football League's social media channels, with behind the scenes content and match updates.




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