Barker: Hitmen can deliver

Pompey striker Jake Jervis Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey striker Jake Jervis Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey’s new strike pairing has been backed to deliver a cutting edge after David Connolly’s departure.

But Blues boss Richie Barker believes the responsibility for goals has to be shared around his men.

Connolly yesterday completed a loan move to League Two rivals Oxford until the end of the season.

That will put extra focus on Jake Jervis and Ryan Taylor, who have two strikes apiece in a combined six starts for Barker’s men.

They have started the past two games together and Barker feels that could be the genesis of a potent pairing.

The duo now look likely to be able to lay down a marker ahead of any potential striking recruits arriving when the loan window opens next week.

Barker said: ‘It’s two each for them now.

‘It’s the goals they get judged on and rightly so. But on top of that they have a terrific work ethic.

‘Jake played with a sore hamstring and back last week but had no intention of coming off. The pair of them have bought in to what we are trying to achieve.

‘David’s (Connolly) last league goal was August and Pat’s (Agyemang) was in December. We weren’t getting enough from the strikers but I’d like everyone to weigh in with goals. Sonny Bradley is the only defender to score since I’ve been here. We need to share it around.’

Barker joked the duo have a distance to travel before they build the kind of telepathic understanding Manchester United front duo Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole famously had.

He said: ‘I’m not getting carried away, they are hardly Yorke and Cole yet!

‘But sometimes it just works. They are both a decent size, both athletic and have a decent touch. Hopefully they have an eye for goal, too.

‘Sometimes it can be opposites but Yorke and Cole were similar. They seem to have a decent understanding.’