Boss relishing ‘big job’ of turning Pompey around

New Blues boss Richie Barker is under no illusions of the job ahead
New Blues boss Richie Barker is under no illusions of the job ahead

A big job and a tough one, but Richie Barker is relishing the opportunity to turn around Pompey’s fortunes.

The new Blues boss has inherited a side which is 17th in the table and just five points off the relegation places.

Alternatively, they sit 10 points adrift of Fleetwood, who are in the final play-off spot.

Andy Awford stopped the rot as far as results are concerned during his caretaker spell, with successive draws.

Now Barker will take the team for the first time for the visit of Newport County to Fratton Park this weekend.

And he is fully aware of the difficulties which lie ahead in attempting to transform Pompey’s campaign.

He said: ‘It’s going to be tough to get the place going again, otherwise everybody would be doing it. But it gives you that motivation to say this place can go a long way.

‘It’s a big job and a big job which is something I am looking forward to – something you have that drive within because of how far the club can go.

‘We need to utilise that drive and that ability to hopefully move the club forward.

‘I have had somebody at the last two matches and watched a few on DVD. But once I left Crawley, and within a couple of days of getting over that, I applied for the job and from then on you try to prepare your job and research as much as you can.

‘I am not going to say the team shouldn’t be where they are, because they are where they are and there for a reason.

‘But we need to make sure we get out of there pretty quickly and start looking upwards.

‘There are still some good players in this team and it’s my job and my responsibility to make them better and to give them some more belief.’

Predecessors Michael Appleton and then Guy Whittingham were involved in successive relegations for the Blues.

Steve Cotterill is the sole boss out of the past four not to have taken Pompey out of a division, with Avram Grant at the helm when they tumbled out of the Premier League.

Now Barker comes in with the Blues in League Two and requiring to be stabilised before even contemplating anything like a play-off push.

He added: ‘Getting this place going again is easier said than done and I am sure everybody who has been here over the last few years have said the same thing.

‘It’s not going to be easy, if it was easy everybody would be doing it.’