Boss delighted with Accrington display
Richie Barker read the riot act to his players after Saturday’s mauling at Scunthorpe.
But it seemed to do the trick as Pompey responded with a home victory over Accrington.
Jake Jervis scored the only goal of the game early in the second half – his fourth since returning to Fratton Park last month.
And Barker was delighted with the way his side bounced back from a heavy defeat to climb up to 18th in the League Two table.
The Blues boss said: “Some people thought what I said on Saturday was a little bit harsh, but I’m an honest person and if we’re not good enough then I’ll say so.
“If we are good enough then I’ll say that as well – and I can’t fault any of them after that performance.
“I told the players that I was extremely proud of the way they reacted. We asked them to start well and get the crowd behind us – and that’s what they did.
“We fizzled out a little before half-time, but then were kicking towards the Fratton End in the second half and took the game to Accrington. We probably should have won by a couple more.
“There were five changes and it sent out the message that if you don’t do a good job then you won’t keep your place for very long.
“But there was no sulking from the players who were left out – everyone stuck together as a group and we got our rewards.”
Barker reserved special praise for his strikers, with Jervis and recent loan arrival Michael Drennan looking bright up front.
He said: “The front two – considering they’d only played together for a half at Scunthorpe – were fantastic. They did a great job of putting Accrington’s back four under pressure.
“We’re encouraging Jake to shoot on a more regular basis, but his attitude was superb.
“Michael’s been called up to the Ireland under-21 squad and we’re not sure where that leaves us with the game next week, but it will be a big miss if we can’t have him.
“He’s a tenacious so-and-so and is not bad in the air for someone his size. It’s probably the biggest crowd he’s played in front of and he scrapped away and held the ball up well.”