Barker wants attacking remit for Pompey full-backs – eventually

Danny East. Picture: Joe Pepler
Danny East. Picture: Joe Pepler

Richie Barker is itching to hand Pompey’s full-backs a licence to attack.

But firstly he wants to concentrate on establishing the defensive stability to help the Blues edge away from the relegation zone.

Daniel Alfei has arrived from Swansea on an initial month’s loan to help cover for the injured Danny East at right-back.

Meanwhile, Yassin Moutaouakil is back training again following a virus which kept him out of two matches over the Christmas period.

It provides options for Barker who admits he favours players raiding down the flanks in that role – a task all three are capable of.

While boss at Crawley, he took Mustapha Dumbuya for the second half of last season following his Pompey release – and regards him as a success.

Now he’s seeking similar attacking capabilities from his chosen right-back and left-back.

Although, before they can run, Barker wants them to focus on defending at this moment in time.

He said: ‘Initially, I want my full-backs defending and stopping goals – but when we get going I want to go more attacking.

‘We cannot do that at the moment, we have to remain solid and start picking up points before we can get there.

‘I do, though, like full-backs to be able to defend on one-v-one situations, be athletic, and get forward when they can.

‘I remember when, at Crawley, we faced Portsmouth on Boxing Day and there was Mustapha Dumbuya, who was a big threat against us, operating at right-back.

‘When I looked at that squad and players we might be interested in, it was Muzzy at that particular time, so we followed it up.

‘We got him in when he was released and ended up losing three of our last 18 games, and although it wasn’t all down to him, he had played a part in that.

‘He was a pleasure to have around and we tried to keep him at the end of the season, but he had numerous offers and chose Notts County instead.

‘There are right-backs here who can also attack – and I want them to do it in my time. But, as I said before, at the moment we have to do what we need to do and that is defend.’

East has ankle ligament damage but, encouragingly, is expected to return to action this month.

Meanwhile, Moutaouakil is back in training, having recovered from his illness. But he was not deemed ready to start against Accrington.

Instead, Alfei is on the scene to stake a first-team claim.

Barker added: ‘We went through our list of players we wanted over the last two or three years and Daniel’s name was on it.

‘I felt we could not take the risk through January for Danny East to come back so we got him in.

‘Daniel is here for a month. We will see how he gets on and then re-evaluate it.

‘He will give us some youthful energy, and coming from Swansea, you expect him to be technically able to deal with the ball.

‘I think he is ready and, after playing development football for a while, is champing at the bit for first-team football.

‘He can play at centre-half but is really a right-back and will give us an attacking threat going forward.’