New boss prepares for Newport test
It has been a hectic first week at Fratton for Richie Barker.
Since being announced as Pompey’s new manager on Monday morning, he has conducted countless media interviews, taken in an academy match and met with several supporters.
It means the 38-year-old has probably not spent as much time on the training ground as he would have liked.
But Barker is still looking forward to leading his new side for the first time against Newport at Fratton Park on Saturday.
The Blues boss said: “It’s been a long week, but in the last 48 hours we’ve tried to nail a few things down ahead of the game this weekend.
“But it’s going to take time because we’re constantly learning about each other.
“In an ideal world you’d have weeks and weeks of preparation time, but we’re not going to get that and we want to hit the ground running.
“We do need time, but we have to buy our own time by making sure we do the right things and are as prepared as we can be. Then we can start to evolve and get to where we want to be.
“I’ve certainly been pleased with the receptiveness to what I’m trying to do and the players’ ability to take information on board.
“They’ve been great and have bought into everything that I’ve asked them to do so far – although you do need to draw a line because there’s only so much information you can give people in 48 hours.
“Some take on information better than others, but we’re not going to solve everything straight away.
“There is competition for places here, though, and it’s up to the players to try to nail down a place in the side.”
The Barker era gets underway against a Newport side who have adapted quickly to life in League Two following their play-off promotion last term.
Justin Edinburgh’s outfit sit seventh in the table and comfortably beat Pompey in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy last month.
Barker said: “They’re extremely hard-working and will have a winning mentality because of their form this season and over the last couple of years.
“They’ll come here full of confidence and it will be an extremely tough game for us.
“But the league is still incredibly tight and we need to try to put a run together to climb up the division.”
Barker has almost a full-strength squad to choose from, although Danny East is likely to miss out after injuring his neck in the last match against Wycombe.
Photo: Allan Hutchings