Barker’s blueprint to turn around Pompey

New Pompey manager Richie Barker. Picture: Allan Hutchings (133396-214)
New Pompey manager Richie Barker. Picture: Allan Hutchings (133396-214)

Richie Barker has revealed he has introduced a high-intensity training programme in a bid to transform Pompey’s fortunes.

The Blues boss has spent the past four days with his new squad in the build-up to his maiden match in charge against Newport County tomorrow.

Having been appointed at Fratton Park on a one-year rolling contract on Monday, Barker has put the team through their paces every day since.

That involved scrapping the players’ traditional Wednesday day off in order to allow him to spend more time on the training pitch with his troops.

It has involved intensive 90-minute sessions, a blueprint he insists served him well in previous jobs at Bury and Crawley.

And he believes the approach can assist the Blues’ aims of climbing the League Two table.

He said: ‘We have fairly high demands on the training ground and I do train for short periods of time at a fairly-high intensity.

‘Everybody is different and that is just the way I have always felt it – and it has been successful for me.

‘How you play is a product of how you train.

‘You play for 90 minutes and you can play at high intensity, so what is the best thing to do?

‘Train for 90 minutes at high intensity.

‘It’s just the way I choose, the way I have researched and decided is the best way for me to coach and work them.

‘I felt that not being able to take any part in training on Monday meant – to have my four days’ worth of impact – we needed to utilise all four days and, hopefully, have done that the best we can.

‘It has been a fine balance between making sure they are worked in the right way physically but also, obviously, getting over the right information so we are not going to be tiring them out.

‘In terms of losing their day off, I have said to the players this won’t last forever, but the sooner we can get a few things nailed down the better.’

The club’s board had long stressed the importance of appointing Guy Whittingham’s replacement with an eye on allowing him to spend a week with the team.

And Barker is pleased to have had such a time frame on the training pitch.

He added: ‘With somebody new coming in, if I’m going to try to put enough information into them as I can, that cannot be done in three days.

‘It cannot be done in four days, really, but you have more chance in four than three.

‘To have the week is a positive. Sometimes people take over on Wednesdays or Thursdays and how much difference can you make in that time?

‘But we can’t be judged in four days.

‘It could take four weeks or four months but we are aware we need to buy time in terms of getting results quickly.

‘The sooner we do that then the sooner we can get into that top half and start to re-evaluate from there.’