Lee Johnson backs Paul Heckingbottom

Former Barnsley manager Lee Johnson, who recently joined Bristol City in the Championship, claims that his replacement – Paul Heckingbottom – should be given the job on a permanent basis.

The 38-year-old may be one of the youngest coaches in the football league right now, but Johnson believes that he has shown enough promise in the last seven weeks to warrant a permanent position. The former coach will be in charge of the team at least until the summer when a permanent solution is found. Rather than interview a number of prospective candidates, Johnson says that they already have a great man for the job in the form of Heckingbottom.

Since he came to the club in February, Barnsley have suffered just one defeat in all competitions. However, this statistic has to be taken with a pinch of salt given that the team were already on a glorious run under the regime of Johnson. It was only the interest from Bristol City – a club from the division above – that the manager’s head started to turn. Even if Barnsley do well in the remainder of the season, it will be hard for Heckingbottom to come close to the achievements of Johnson. Johnson managed to get the club into a final in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy.

"Hecky is definitely the right choice for Barnsley in the long-term. He is Barnsley through and through and a very knowledgeable coach. I am not surprised at all that he is doing so well. I am sure Tommy's experience and guidance has been a big help to him and they are two very good friends of mine so I am very happy for them.The test will be when Hecky has difficult times and if he can come through them because it is very difficult to manage a football club,” said Johnson.