Winger’s early form exceeds Whittingham expectations

Andy Barcham has made a fine start to his Pompey career
Andy Barcham has made a fine start to his Pompey career

Guy Whittingham was always convinced Andy Barcham would emerge as a Pompey hit.

But even the Blues manager’s lofty expectations have been surpassed by the winger’s early-season form.

The 26-year-old has proven to be an inspirational recruit for Whittingham during a busy summer of new arrivals.

His performances on the left wing have swiftly established him as a favourite among the Fratton faithful so early in the campaign.

A different Barcham to the one who struggled in his final year at Scunthorpe, prompting his release this summer.

Pompey stepped in to offer him a three-year deal and Whittingham is delighted with the newcomer’s opening displays.

He said: ‘It is great to see Barch has started off so well.

‘I think we can be fairly pleased with the way a lot of the new players have come in.

‘There is always going to be one or two that don’t quite hit the mark that you expect or they expect because not everybody will do.

‘Other people will eventually get their chances and it is up to them to impress and do well.

‘But as far as Barch is concerned, he has lived up to our expectations and probably just slightly exceeded them as well.

‘He’s had a great start. The biggest asset any player can have is confidence.

‘And he saw this as a new challenge for him, has been very positive, taken his chance to impress and played very well.

‘He is the sort of player that will get you standing out of your seat.

‘It is important to have those type of players at this club.

‘In January we were thinking of the type of players we wanted to bring in and had the names of five or six wingers of which Barch was one because Stevie Allen had said what a great season he had before the last at Scunthorpe.

‘He had a few injury issues and was playing wing-back in the system they played last season.

‘Then you look at all the stats and the figures they put up in the game, how they did, ring around to find out about the character.

‘He had previously played well at Gillingham and then stepped up a league so you always have to look at the history as well.

‘You cannot just think of the last season that he did, you have got to look back further than that to see what type of player he is when he is going well.

‘And I am pleased we did it.’

It’s still early days in Barcham’s Fratton career.

But in his first eight appearances he looks to be a good addition, although Whittingham does expect a lull at some point.

He added: ‘I think it is too much to ask for a player to be flying every single game.

‘But for us at the moment he is doing very, very well.

‘There are times when he will have quieter games because the opposition will think very carefully how they play against us and he is a main strength.

‘What we have to get right is there is a balance between how we rely on him and how much we rely on other players coming in.’