Barker lauds new Pompey striking options

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Richie Barker believes Pompey now have the striking options at their disposal to damage teams.

The Blues boss yesterday snapped up free agents Jake Jervis and Ryan Taylor to bolster his squad’s attacking capabilities.

Ryan Taylor, right, in action for Bristol City

Ryan Taylor, right, in action for Bristol City

On a busy day at Fratton Park, left-back Nicky Shorey also arrived – having been released by Bristol City at the turn of the year.

But it is the revamped forward line which has attracted the most attention as Barker seeks to increase the goal-scoring potency of his team.

Tom Craddock remains a long-term absentee, while David Connolly and Ryan Bird have not scored since the start of November.

Even fans’ favourite Patrick Agyemang has only netted once in 12 matches.

Now Barker has former loanee Jervis and ex-Bristol City man Taylor added to his numbers in the build-up to tomorrow’s trip to Oxford.

He said: ‘To be successful you need different players who have different attributes.

‘Someone like Jake – his pace, athleticism and mobility is probably something we haven’t got in abundance.

‘Not having Tom for half a season is a blow, so we needed to strengthen that in some way.

‘Even if it’s in the form of numbers, we still needed to strengthen.

‘There were times when I haven’t had a great deal of options and just picked what I’ve had.

‘We have had to play with a three because we have not had two fit strikers or two fit midfielders or whatever.

‘It has been mix and match at times.

‘There is no point me bringing in the same type of people otherwise we become a one-dimensional team.

‘We need to have different strings to our bow to be successful.

‘The important part of it is being able to mix and match these people so we can put out different teams in different formations to who we are playing against.’

Jervis, who previously played in Turkey, is awaiting international clearance before he can be considered for the Kassam Stadium clash.

He has penned a deal until the end of the season, while Taylor has signed for 18 months. Shorey has also committed until the summer and his stay comes after training with Pompey this week.

Barker added: ‘Nicky is cool, calm and collected on the ball and obviously experienced.

‘He was fairly regular for Bristol City.

‘He played for them when I took a Crawley team there about two months ago.

‘But his contract was up at Christmas, so Steve (Cotterill) probably needed to freshen things up and save some money somehow and Nicky was a victim of that.

‘He has been reliable and I think is very much a calming influence who doesn’t say a great deal – but certainly on the training ground and on the ball he is very calming.’