Barker defiant over Pompey future

Pompey boss Richie Barker, centre, isn't feeling the strain after Pompey's latest defeat Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey boss Richie Barker, centre, isn't feeling the strain after Pompey's latest defeat Picture: Joe Pepler

Under-fire Pompey boss Richie Barker stood defiant in the face of increasing criticism and insisted: I’m not afraid of the sack.

The Blues are now only two points above the League Two relegation zone, following last night’s 3-0 defeat at Rochdale.

The loss at the league leaders represented a third in a row and the fifth time Pompey have failed to score in the past six matches.

Following the final whistle, travelling Blues fans chanted ‘Barker out’ to make their feelings known.

Chairman Iain McInnes and fellow board member Ashley Brown were present in the Spotland stands to witness the highly-vocal reaction.

The club now have seven matches left to retain their Football League status – but Barker shrugged off questions about mounting pressure on him.

‘I’ve had far bigger issues outside football that are far worse than this and I will just get on with it,’ said Barker.

‘I don’t feel the pressure, I just get on with it and work as hard as I can. I’ve had things happen to me and this is not pressure.

‘Nobody has said anything to me. I dare say they might do but I don’t know, so I will just keep going.

‘It’s not something I am afraid of. Compared to the things that have happened to me, this is not tough.

‘You can keep changing managers but the players keep making the same mistakes.

‘Change it but it’s going to be the same group of players and the same issues.

‘Although sometimes you can get a reaction when you change it and if you do then it has worked.

‘I am not everybody’s cup of tea, so what – it’s not the end of the world.

‘But in terms of pressure, I’ve had far bigger issues in my life and I will just get on with it.’

Only a stoppage-time leveller from AFC Wimbledon’s Sammy Moore prevented Northampton catching up with Pompey in the table last night.

At one stage it appeared only goals scored would be keeping Barker’s side out of the relegation zone.

As it was, the good news from Sixfields filtered through after the Rochdale fixture had ended and both sets of players left the pitch. It represented a massive boost for the Blues, although they must focus on succeeding in their own matches.

And Barker stressed the importance on concentrating on their own situation.

He added: ‘We need to affect ourselves and do the right things here.

‘We can’t affect other teams. What we can affect is trying to improve things on our pitch and that is going to be tough.

‘I am waiting for somebody to go: “You can’t leave me out” and it’s not happening. I don’t know if anybody really deserves to stay in the team.

‘Nobody is working hard enough to stay in the team and we are back round to the fifth chance some people have had.’