A hectic start for Barker but at last kick-off almost here

Richie Barker at a fans' question-and-answer session at Fratton Park Picture: Allan Hutchings
Richie Barker at a fans' question-and-answer session at Fratton Park Picture: Allan Hutchings

It has been a whistle-stop tour of life as a Pompey manager.

Now Richie Barker is relishing the opportunity to finally be able to sample the big kick-off tomorrow.

It has been a hectic week for the 38-year-old following Monday’s official unveiling as Blues boss.

On Tuesday night he was at St Mary’s to watch Andy Awford’s Academy side slump to a 7-0 defeat to Southampton.

On Wednesday evening Barker met more than 80 fans at a question-and-answer forum at Fratton Park, while last night he travelled to the Isle of Wight for their supporters’ club’s Christmas draw event.

That is on top of taking his squad training every single day from Tuesday in preparation of tomorrow’s visit of Newport County.

But match day is now almost upon him and Barker is licking his lips at the chance to focus purely on football.

Not that he objects to the busy Pompey social life he finds himself involved in – far from it.

He said: ‘It has been a busy week and, obviously, the most important thing is to win the game, so I need to dedicate as much time as I can to that.

‘But I am also aware that there are big demands as part of being manager of this football club and that is something you have to just get on with.

‘It’s a little bit different because it’s a community football club so there is transparency in terms of what the board have done, which is great.

‘Everybody knows what has been going on at the club, it’s part of your responsibility to ensure that keeps happening.

‘I think all managers should do that anyway. I have never been one for shying away from fans’ forums or whatever. I am quite honest and at times probably too honest.

‘I will tell people what’s going on, I haven’t got a problem with that. I don’t dress things up, I just get on with it.

‘I think everybody knew managing a football club of this size was going to take up a large amount of your time.

‘Although, I am hoping next week I can at least get some sleep!

‘I have enjoyed it, though, it has been great. But, if I’m honest, now – as a football manager – I just want the game to kick off and to get on with it.’

Pompey face a County side at Fratton tomorrow clutching just one away league victory all season.

That came at Exeter in the form of a 2-0 win on September, with no triumphs on the road in the following six League Two matches.

The Exiles did win on their travels against Barker while he was Crawley boss, however – a 3-2 result in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy in October.