Barker up against clock for weekend recruit

Pompey boss Richie Barker. Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey boss Richie Barker. Picture: Joe Pepler

Richie Barker believes it is unlikely any new Pompey recruits will be in place before the crucial trip to Exeter.

But the Blues boss is determined to bring in at least a striker during the Football League’s emergency loan window, which opens tomorrow.

The loan departures of David Connolly (Oxford) and Ryan Bird (Cambridge) have left a vacancy in the striking department.

Pompey’s pool of forwards now consists of just Patrick Agyemang, Jake Jervis and Ryan Taylor.

Any bit of business would have to be conducted after midnight tomorrow when the loan window opens.

Pompey then have until noon on Saturday to register any newcomer to be eligible for the Exeter visit.

And it’s a tight timeframe Barker believes makes it practically impossible to recruit any new faces to feature at St James Park.

He said: ‘I am not sure at the moment if there will be anyone before the weekend.

‘I have a couple of things I have kept an eye on but the one thing that is difficult is the window opens on late Friday evening.

‘With a view to people playing Saturday, that is going to be tough.

‘Logistically the timing of the window causes a bit of an issue so it’s going to be difficult.

‘It’s certainly not ideal but you never know.

‘I would probably like another striker.

‘The fact David Connolly asked to go has left us a little bit short and that is something I need to consider with a few midweek games coming up.

‘But at the end of the transfer window it emerges that there are players who suddenly find themselves available for loan.

‘We have got a mix among the strikers. I like different players who give us different options and can also compliment each other.

‘I feel we have a good mix with Ryan, Pat and Jake.

‘We also have a little bit more legs with Jake, pace is always difficult to defend.

‘But I would like another in there.’

Connolly, Bird, Adam Webster (Aldershot) and John Sullivan (Cambridge) are all out on loan at present.

Barker has revealed their exits, albeit temporarily, have created room in his playing budget to continue to recruit. In Connolly’s case, The News understands Oxford are paying a chunk of the wages of one of Pompey’s leading earners.

Barker, though, believes some areas of his squad don’t require attending to before the window closes at 5pm on March 27.

He added: ‘With one or two going out it is going to be self-financing and we can spend a little bit in terms of wages.

‘We have targets and will continue to explore that when the window opens.

‘I am pleased with the four boys who play wide.

‘They have got a good balance and have bought into the work ethic as well.

‘We’ve got to keep them fresh and athletic.

‘And defensively we are also okay at the moment.’