Barker warns Pompey style may have to wait

Richie Barker. Picture: Joe Pepler
Richie Barker. Picture: Joe Pepler

Richie Barker has warned Pompey fans ‘expansive football’ is on hold while the scrap is on for crucial points.

The Blues are only four points clear of the League Two relegation zone and face struggling Bristol Rovers on Saturday.

Defeat would be unthinkable for the Blues, with Rovers just three points behind in the table.

It is now eight games without victory in all competitions, a run which has seen Pompey eliminated from two cup competitions and slip towards the drop zone.

For Barker, points are inevitably priceless in the job he has been tasked with.

And considering the porous defence at his disposal, he believes the style of play will have to be adjusted for a while to ensure that happens.

He said: ‘The expansive football is going to have to wait until we have kept a few clean sheets, I think.

‘When we keep a few clean sheets then we can start doing the other stuff.

‘We need to do the basics right and, at the minute, the basics are costing us.

‘If you can’t get the basics right you can’t do the other stuff.

‘At the moment we can’t get the basics right.

‘It looks like we could do with going a goal in front, and people can then take positives from that.

‘There were chances to do that (on Saturday). We need to get through this and there’s no use saying it’s luck.

‘Eventually we need to do that ourselves.’

Rovers have lost twice in their past seven league games, although just two of those have been victories.

John Ward’s side have struggled to score goals, the second-lowest tally in the division with 17 from 20 matches.

Yet they have conceded 12 goals fewer than the Pompey side who travel to face them on Saturday.