Barker definitely the boss for former team-mate Taylor

Ryan Taylor made his Pompey debut against Oxford on Saturday Picture: Joe Pepler
Ryan Taylor made his Pompey debut against Oxford on Saturday Picture: Joe Pepler

They were team-mates who played alongside each other for what was Richie Barker’s last-ever match.

Now Ryan Taylor has been signed by his former strike partner for Pompey – and he’s gunning to reward the manager’s faith.

It was at Rotherham where the then 20-year-old forward first linked up with Barker – a veteran loaned from Hartlepool for his second spell at the club.

They lined up in attack alongside each other at Exeter in November 2008. The match finished 1-1, with neither on the scoresheet that day.

The second and final time they occupied the pitch on the same occasion was January 2009 against Dagenham & Redbridge, both arriving as substitutes to spend 19 minutes as team-mates.

A certain Matt Ritchie, on loan from Pompey, netted for the Daggers in a 1-1 draw. Then that was it.

Barker retired, Taylor remained at the Millers, before joining Bristol City in the summer of 2011.

Now they find themselves at the same club once more, only Barker is now the manager and the 25-year-old is a striker playing under him,

Taylor said: ‘I called him Richie back then, now he’s called “gaffer”! I had to get used to that when I first came in last Thursday!

‘He was a hard-working player – I am going to say that though! He held the ball up, never stopped running and used to get a lot of penalties as well. He used to nick them.

‘I was only a young kid at the time coming through at Rotherham when I played with him. We only played together a couple of times, though. I cannot remember that far back, to be honest!

‘It was his second spell and he had done well at Rotherham before. The fans liked him and, having come through the ranks there myself, I’d heard about him before.

‘I think he always had the capabilities to be a manager – he was vocal in the dressing room, and that’s the first part you look for.

‘He also used to take a massive interest in the tactical side of the game.

‘But it’s a different scenario now playing under him, and as a player you can only learn off somebody like that.

‘Coming here now and the experienced strikers we have got here, I will be looking and seeing things they do to try to pick bits off them and learn from these experienced people.’

Taylor netted 24 goals in 152 games for the Millers before turning down a new deal to make the switch to Bristol City.

Signed by Keith Millen, his time at Ashton Gate was hampered by injuries and failed to match his Rotherham days – particularly his final year when he netted 12.

Still, he is at Fratton Park now striving to kick-start his career again having penned an 18-month deal.

Granted a debut at Oxford last weekend, Taylor is in the running to retain his place in a crucial match against Mansfield at Fratton Park on Saturday.

And he’s hoping his playing style can start netting the goals for Barker and his new club.

Taylor added: ‘I’m a big striker that links the play, brings other people into play and hopefully get a few goals to get Portsmouth up that table.

‘I like to work hard but can also knit the play as well, but will do my fair share of running.’