ANDY BARCHAM is determined to answer Richie Barker’s call to return to his early-season form.
The Pompey winger has spoken of his desire to show Barker the player who had League Two defences running for cover at the start of the season.
Putting right the 5-1 debacle at Scunthorpe is the first task, as the Blues face Accrington at Fratton Park tonight.
Meanwhile, Barcham’s wife is due to give birth to the 27-year-old’s child at any time.
But the midfielder is doing his best to concentrate on the job at hand after Saturday’s Glanford Park shambles.
That means returning to the scintillating form which had him marked out as such a threat after his summer arrival from the Iron.
Barcham said: ‘The gaffer wasn’t here at the start of the season and if he’s heard things that’s great.
‘I like taking people on and hopefully I’ve showed that in games.
‘That’s how I play. I always try to put my strengths on a game.
‘Running on the ball and getting at players is one of them. I’ll always try to do that.
‘But it’s about the here and now.
‘I want to be in the side contributing and playing well, like I was.
‘To do that, I’ve got to work hard to get into the team.
‘It’s been frustrating for me at times.
‘But I’m trying to do the best now to stay injury free.
‘Then I can show the gaffer what I can do.’
Barcham knows the challenge for him is to quickly build momentum over the final 14 games of the season.
He was withdrawn at half-time on Saturday as he builds his return after a thigh injury.
Now it’s about returning to his best.
‘I was happy with my form and I was happy with how I was playing at the start of the season,’ said Barcham.
‘My confidence was high and I was enjoying my football. Football is like a rollercoaster – you are up and down with things which go on in a season.
‘You have to be mentally strong to deal with those problems and come through a better person and better player.
‘You just want to keep moving forward.
‘I was happy with my performances. I want to get back to that and look to progress. There’s only a few games left and they are coming up thick and fast.
‘It goes really quickly and I just want to get back in there and play as many games as possible.’
Barcham admitted an eagerness to show his new boss what he could do contributed to him spending a month on the sidelines.
He said: ‘When a new manager comes In you want to impress.
‘Perhaps where a new manager came in I just wanted to be on the training field as much as possible
‘Maybe I should have taken a day to recover. That’s hindsight. Maybe, looking back, I should have come out.
‘But it’s done now and it resulted in me getting an injury, which was frustrating.
‘I’m about being positive and that’s done now and I’m back in contention.
‘That’s all I want to do now.
‘My injury is fine.
‘I’ve worked hard with the physios, so I’m there or thereabouts.
‘I’m ready when called upon. I need to show everyone what I can do again.’