Barker keen to trim Pompey squad

Pompey boss Richie Barker Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey boss Richie Barker Picture: Joe Pepler

Richie Barker bucked the trend of most managers as he admitted: We’ve got too many players.

The Blues boss has been busy in attempting to improve his squad during the January transfer window with the recruitment of Daniel Alfei, Ryan Taylor, Nicky Shorey, Jake Jervis and Wes Fogden.

But that has now taken his squad to 28 – not including the development players – and he is keen to trim it back to a more workable number.

Barker explained: ‘I would like it to be a lot less than I have got now.

‘I don’t know the exact number, but you are talking about high 20s.

‘I operated on a squad of 19 at Crawley. That was a little bit thin at times.

‘So I would say somewhere in between those numbers would be ideal.

‘The squad is too big so we need to look at trimming it back a bit.

‘We are starting to get the right people in, added to the good people we had before.

‘But now we need to make it a little bit tighter.’

Barker revealed he had not yet informed any of his players to start looking for another club, and only John Sullivan and Shaun Cooper have departed so far.

Of that 28-man squad, Tom Craddock and Dan Butler are out injured, while Adam Webster has just returned from a loan spell at Aldershot.

But the rest have all featured for the first team this season.

And Barker is now looking to send some of his players out on loan if they are not part of his plans, which could also see some leave when the emergency loan window re-opens.

‘I haven’t told any players to find another club but I probably will do,’ said Barker.

‘I will wait for approaches but will also wait until the end of January as well, unless something crops up.

‘I’m not actively trying to sell anyone or get anyone out because I have been looking to recruit.

‘And I wouldn’t be letting anyone out on loan who is playing on a regular basis.

‘I’ve got a fair idea who would be available but it comes down to interest.’

Rather than basing it on finances or being told to cut the playing staff by the board, it appears Barker has made the decision himself and would prefer a more tight-knit group to work with.

And while many managers will often want ‘two more players’, Barker prefers a more competitive environment with everyone pressing for places.

He added: ‘I am not like that. Once I have done my business and got where I want to go, I am not one for change.

‘I want to create an environment where everybody works together towards a collective goal to the end of the season.

‘You can’t do that if people can’t ever see a way of getting in the team.

‘If you look at it, with a fully-fit squad, I have too many players.

‘But at Southend recently we didn’t have anywhere near enough. It can change.’