Richie Barker praised Michael Drennan’s debut consolation header in Pompey’s 5-1 humbling at high-flying Scunthorpe on Saturday and promised: There’s plenty more where that came from.
Aston Villa loanee Drennan was introduced to the Blues fray at half-time for Andy Barcham, with the visitors trailing 3-0 and keen to mount an improbable second-half comeback against the in-form Iron.
Two further goals inside 10 minutes of the restart, though, confirmed it would be a day to forget for Barker’s relegation-threatened side who now lie in 21st place in the table – seven points above the drop zone and the threat of dropping out of the Football League altogether.
But a first senior professional goal for the 20-year-old Irishman, from Daniel Alfei’s inviting cross five minutes from time, ensured the travelling Fratton faithful at least had something to cheer after a four-hour trip to Lincolnshire.
Barker said: ‘We brought him (Drennan) in because we knew he would score goals.
‘He is a goal threat, so I’m pleased for him.
‘He scores goals. He was a regular goalscorer for Aston Villa’s Academy.’
Drennan, whose six goals were crucial to firing Villa to NextGen 2013 series glory – European football’s elite under-19 club competition – enjoyed an inauspicious spell at Carlisle United that only ended on Tuesday.
Six appearances for the League One outfit failed to provide the Republic of Ireland youth international with a goal.
But Blues boss Barker insisted he was unfazed by that equivocal record ahead of securing the youngster’s services last Friday on a one-month youth loan deal.
And with out-on-loan strike duo David Connolly and Ryan Bird both scoring on Saturday for Oxford and Cambridge United respectively, Barker was pleased to see his latest recruit hit the ground running immediately – albeit in difficult circumstances.
Barker added: ‘He only played a few games for Carlisle.
‘But he was in and out of their team and played in a slightly different way.
‘But he does score goals.
‘And I’m sure he is pleased to have proved that Saturday.’
– JEFF MARSHMAN