Heckingbottom, who was born in Barnsley and played for the club as well, will manage the Tykes against Leeds in the Championship game at Oakwell on Saturday afternoon.
“It (Leeds) was always my favourite one,” Heckingbottom told The Yorkshire Post. “When I was growing up, where I was from, you were a Barnsley fan or a Leeds fan when you played in the field behind my house.
“It was Leeds against Barnsley and the Leeds lads were always older than us and always used to kick smoke out of us. We hated Leeds and they hated us and that is how it was.
“You understand the support they have got and the size of the club and the tradition as it was always rammed down your throat with them bragging about it.
“It is a team everyone loves to hate, but a big club with a big tradition. It is a big derby for us.”
Barnsley are 17th in the Championship table at the moment with 20 points from 17 matches, six points above the relegation zone and nine points behind sixth-placed Middlesbrough.
The main objective for the Tykes this season is to avoid relegation from the Championship to League One, and three points against Leeds at home will be a massive help in that quest.
Leeds are not in great form at the moment, having lost 4-1 to Wolverhampton Wanderers away from home in the Championship on Wednesday evening.
The Whites are not playing well, and Barnsley could take advantage of their Yorkshire rivals’ situation and get at least a point from the home match on Saturday afternoon.