Boss says sacrifices have to be made
It’s a time of year when thoughts turn to getting those last minute gifts and how you’re going to cram the turkey into the oven.
But Richie Barker only has football on his mind this Christmas.
While fans rush downstairs to eagerly tear open their presents on December 25, Pompey’s players will be turning up for training.
And while Barker does not enjoy playing the Scrooge role, a run of four games in 10 days over the festive period means his squad have to be well prepared.
The Blues boss said: “You can normally pencil in a few day’s rest over Christmas, but it seems different this time – it’s even busier.
“There’s just a recovery day and a preparation day between games, so there will be no time off.
“It’s a fantastic time for everybody and I understand how important it is, but it’s also important for us as a club.
“The longer you’re involved in football the easier it becomes to cope. It’s a special time for everybody, but it comes with the territory.
“If you want to be a professional footballer then unfortunately you have to make sacrifices – and one of those is cutting down on what you eat and drink over Christmas.
“They can enjoy their Christmas dinner once they’ve finished training – I’m sure they’ll be back home in time to watch Noel Edmonds!”
Pompey will be looking to end their run of nine matches without a win when Dagenham & Redbridge visit Fratton Park on Boxing Day.
Wayne Burnett’s side are sitting 10th in the League Two table, although they have lost their last two games.
Barker said: “Wayne’s a good friend of mine and invited me to watch them on my Saturday off after leaving Crawley.
“I like the way he’s got them playing. He’s changed their style and is someone with a good future ahead of him.
“They’re very athletic and have got some pace in their team – it’s going to be a tough game.”
Pompey are likely to be without the injured duo of Andy Barcham (thigh) and Shaun Cooper (hamstring) on Boxing Day.
The Blues are 6/5 to beat Dagenham & Redbridge with Sky Bet. Open an account at www.skybet.com/pompey to receive great offers and earn money for the club.