Date: 28th July 2017 at 3:20pm
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Paul Heckingbottom is under no illusion Barnsley – seen by many as one of the three who will go down – face a difficult second season back in the Championship but the boss is ready for the challenge ahead.

As Barnsley prepare for the final pre-season friendly, at the New York Stadium, home of rivals Rotherham, on Saturday, the City boss told the Official Website it would be a ‘big season’ for all at Oakwell.

It will be especially tough for the younger player coming into the squad this season and those involved that weren’t last time round.

Heckingbottom said: ‘It’s going to be a big season for everyone. A big season for players who were here last year, a big season for the players stepping up, a big season for the younger lads or ones who couldn’t break into the first team last season. We’re in the Championship, it’s always a big challenge.’

Pre-season has been about Barnsley getting prepared for the challenge ahead, which Heckingbottom feels is happening with those already at the club but he’s also hopeful of bringing ‘a few more in.’

‘And we still know we need more bodies. We’re still working on bringing a few more in. These deals aren’t dead and ideally we’ll get them in before the first game of the season so we can get working with them straight away,’ the boss added. It’s all about preparation and getting ourselves ready for that challenge.’

Meanwhile, one of those familiar faces this season will be Adam Hammill.

Hammill knows, albeit hardly a veteran, as one of the most senior players within the Barnsley squad he’ll be expected to ‘set an example’ at Oakwell and is happy to do this.

‘I want to set an example, to be a benchmark here to the younger lads in the team. I’m the eldest, the experienced player who has reached the highest level. And I enjoy passing on advice and trying to show leadership on and off the pitch,’ he told the Official Website.

Going on to talk about his own personal fitness the winger said he’s ‘flying.’

‘And in fitness terms I’m flying this summer. I did 90 minutes in the last two matches and usually I’d be feeling it in my legs. But I’ve been working so hard this summer, like I said earlier, I want to be a role model. But yeah, I feel great. Maybe it’s the running around I do at home after the kids!’

The Oakwell return of Hammill didn’t entirely going according to plan last season as he wasn’t always at his best but a decision was made, not that he’s got anything to prove, pressure wouldn’t be put on himself as that’ll not benefit anyone.

Hammill finished by saying he aims to play with a smile on his face and with freedom, which should be best all round as it’ll bring the best out of him to benefit the Reds.

‘I know last season I was putting myself under too much pressure to produce. I wanted to show the fans, but I wasn’t at my best at times. I’m back to my old self now I reckon, I want to play with a smile on my face and to entertain and send the fans home happy.’

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