Barton: I’ll solve crisis

Adam Barton and former Hawks striker Ollie Palmer do battle on Boxing Day. Picture: Joe Pepler
Adam Barton and former Hawks striker Ollie Palmer do battle on Boxing Day. Picture: Joe Pepler
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ADAM BARTON has promised he’ll solve Pompey’s defensive crisis.

The Blues face Luton today with just one senior central defender available at the club.

I want to do anything I can to do a job for the team.

Adam Barton

That’s after Adam Webster was dismissed in Saturday’s 3-2 Boxing Day defeat at Leyton Orient.

Webster will serve a one-match ban for his professional foul on Jobi McAnuff, as Paul Cook’s side suffered their third league defeat of the season.

That leaves the Pompey boss desperately short of options as the team bid to close the six-point gap to leaders Plymouth.

Barton left the bench to partner Matt Clarke at Brisbane Road, despite being a midfielder and rarely playing at the back.

Despite his inexperience, the 24-year-old is happy to do exactly the same at Fratton Park against the Hatters today.

Barton said: ‘How often have I played in defence before? I’ve played there once!

‘But there’s been the reserve games as well, I’ve filled in there.

‘It’s not often I’ve played there, but it’s a position I’m aware of and I’m ready to give it a go if I’m asked to fill in there.

‘I know what I need to do.

‘It’s just a case of getting my mind around being a centre half and not in midfield.

‘The central defenders do see a lot of the ball and we tend to dominate possession.

‘It’s a tough challenge but it’s part of the job. You have to be prepared for whatever is thrown at you.

‘The longer you play the more your realise you have to be ready at all costs.

‘It’s not my position but I’ll happily go in there and give it my best.

‘I want to do anything I can to do a job for the team.’

Pompey will have to sharpen up at the back after shipping shoddy goals in the loss against Orient.

Former Hawks striker Ollie Palmer grabbed two strikes with Jay Simpson converting a penalty after Webster’s dismissal.

It proved a physical test for Barton as he went up against 6ft 5in Palmer’s power.

He expects Luton to offer a different kind of threat today.

One option would be to shift Enda Stevens to the middle of defence and bring in teenage left-back Brandon Haunstrup.

But Barton feels he can offer the kind of ball-playing attributes Cook looks for from his defenders.

Barton said: ‘Leyton Orient are a team who like to get it forward and get the knockdowns, so it was an experience for me.

‘Luton are a different side, though, and, if I do get called upon I’ll be ready and prepared for them.

‘I like to get on the ball and play. I don’t think there are many managers in this league who will want their centre-halves to do that.

‘The manager here likes his central defenders stepping in and joining in with play.

‘That’s maybe why he can see me filling in there.’