Barcham shrugs off squad depth worries

Andy Barcham assessed Pompey’s small band of brothers and declared: We’re ready for the long haul.

The new Blues winger will be one of several debutants in tomorrow’s League Two showdown with Oxford United.

Andy Barcham leading the way in training. Pic: Robin Jones

Andy Barcham leading the way in training. Pic: Robin Jones

He understands the importance of a positive start to the campaign.

Barcham also realises there will be plenty of questions asked of Pompey’s 19-man squad over the next nine months.

‘We’ve had a good pre-season but we’re ready for the real thing now,’ he said. ‘There will be a lot of games this season and it’s going to be difficult.

‘League Two is a tough league to get out of. You’ve got to be prepared to put the hard graft in.

‘But I think we relish that opportunity as a group.

‘You do need a squad and there will be times when there will be rotation.

‘It can have its benefits and its negatives as well, so it’s a difficult one to call.

‘The gaffer has got his numbers in and it’s not a huge squad.

‘But we are looking at it as a positive.

‘With not so many players, people are not arguing or upset all the time that they aren’t playing.

‘Sometimes that helps bring the group closer together.

‘We’ve got versatile players and if there is no immediate cover, there are players who have played in different positions in the past or could do a job.

‘That will have entered the gaffer’s mind when he brought these players in.

‘I can play in a few positions and others are the same.’

Barcham is eager to experience the full Fratton Park experience on day one of the new campaign, with a capacity crowd offering their support.

He is certain it will play a positive part for the home side.

‘I’m sure some players will get affected by it because it’s going to be a big crowd,’ said Barcham.

‘But I think it plays more of a positive effect, rather than a negative effect the other way.

‘If it does affect Oxford, then fantastic.

‘But it will be great to have those fans behind us and making a lot of noise as they always do at this club.

‘Everyone knows what the fans are like here and we are all looking forward to doing our best for them.’

Barcham also believes the new clutch of players are ready to hit the ground running.

He said: ‘It’s been easier for us because normally when you sign for a new club, everyone already knows each other.

‘There are so many players that have come in, everyone had to talk and click straight away. It’s a good environment.’