Barker predicts big summer changes

Michael Drennan Picture: News & Star Carlisle
Michael Drennan Picture: News & Star Carlisle

Richie Barker admits he is still in the earliest stages of his Pompey revolution and anticipates another extensive summer overhaul.

The Blues boss believes he is less than 10 per cent into the mission to finally put the club on the right track, despite already bringing in eight players since his appointment in December.

Young Aston Villa striker Michael Drennan yesterday became his eighth new recruit, joining Daniel Alfei, Nicky Shorey, Wes Fogden, Ben Chorley, Ryan Taylor, Jake Jervis and Toumani Diagouraga.

But Barker anticipates yet more big changes at the end of the season as he tries to mould his own squad.

He said: ‘There has got to be changes in the summer. We can’t carry on like this.

‘I always like evolution as opposed to revolution but sometimes evolution has to work a little bit quicker.

‘If there are 100 squares on the board on where we want to be, we are on square 10.

‘In fact, maybe I would say we are even less than 10 per cent into it.

‘I’ve brought in a few players but when you do it at this time of year you are papering over the cracks.

‘Is it how I would want to do it? Not really.

‘Some of the decisions I have had to make have been fairly reactive to what I found.

‘I was trying to put a band aid over some issues that I found.’

Having been in the Fratton Park hot seat for two months now, Barker feels the job is tougher than he first envisaged.

And although he might have preferred the freedom of building a squad from scratch as previous boss Guy Whittingham did, Barker also understands the difficulty of that task.

‘The job has been a lot tougher than I thought and there are more issues to sort out than I thought,’ he said.

‘There have been a few green shoots along the way but there is a long way to go.

‘Before I came in, I just thought it needed a bit of fixing. It didn’t.

‘I probably wish I’d had that blank canvas but I know that is not easy either.

‘Building a football club from the bottom is not easy.

‘Maybe I’ll have a little bit more of a blank canvas in the summer?

‘It’s not easy to change things around when you have some players on longer contracts and that’s why I think we are about a 10th of the way through. This time next year, I would like to be 50 per cent of the way through.

‘It’s going to be a busy year.’

The key area that the Blues boss has prioritised is the defensive problems, although he would have preferred to address other issues.

‘It was pretty obvious where I needed to start,’ said Barker.

‘I have never had to start there before and is that where I wanted to start? No.

‘But I had to start there.

‘We couldn’t have carried on conceding the goals we were.

‘In the last 10 games, we have kept a clean sheet every other week and we have still got the second worst record in the division.

‘It speaks volumes of how far behind we were.’