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Barker Searching For Perfect Balance

14 March 2014

Goals needed to complement defensive success

Three successive clean sheets would have been something to celebrate when Pompey were shipping goals at an alarming rate earlier in the season.

But unfortunately the Blues have also failed to find the target during that spell.

They still sit five points above the League Two drop zone ahead of Saturday’s trip to high-flying Fleetwood.

But Richie Barker knows that Pompey have to perform at both ends of the pitch if they want to climb higher.

The Blues boss said: “It shows how far we’ve come that we were disappointed with a draw against Burton on Tuesday night after keeping another clean sheet and arguably creating the better chances.

“Who would have thought we would be getting sick of talking about goalless draws because a few weeks ago we would have given anything for them.

“I appreciate that at some point we need to be talking about goals scored, but we are now much harder to beat.

“I think that, particularly at Fratton Park, teams are no longer just turning up and doing what they want. They’re having to work extremely hard.

“Now we have to start doing the right things at the other end – and we were within a couple of inches of doing that against Burton.

“But within half an hour of the end of that game, we were already looking ahead to Fleetwood.”

Pompey will make their first ever visit to Highbury Stadium on Saturday to face a side sitting just three points adrift of the automatic promotion places.

Barker said: “They’ve done extremely well and I don’t think they’ve been outside the play-offs all season, so they’re a model of consistency.

“I’ve previously played against their boss Graham Alexander and people speak highly of him, even though it’s his first full season as a manager.

“He played more than 1,000 games in a career spanning 21 years and has obviously imparted a lot of the discipline he learnt onto the his players.

“I also know their striker Jon Parkin and he can easily hurt you if you’re not aware of his threat.”

Pompey are 3/1 with Sky Bet to beat Fleetwood. Open an account at www.skybet.com/pompey for great offers and to earn money for the club.

Blues fans are welcome to visit Jim’s Sports Bar at Highbury Stadium and take advantage of the Happy Hour between 12pm and 1pm, with Carlsberg and Tetley available for just £2 a pint.

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