Painter flourishing in sustained first-team presence

Marcos Painter in action at Morecambe Picture: Joe Pepler

Marcos Painter in action at Morecambe Picture: Joe Pepler

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Marcos Painter believes he’s flourishing in regular first-team football as he bids to convince Richie Barker he has a Pompey future.

The Globe Arena marked the rejuvenated left-back’s seventh successive start as he continues to shine.

Many expected him to leave Fratton Park this month when his short-term deal expired. Instead, he has been granted an additional month.

Barker is keen to keep assessing the 27-year-old’s fitness as he weighs up whether to tie him to the club longer.

In the meantime, Painter remains a first choice.

Having failed to win a place towards the end of Guy Whittingham’s time as boss and during Andy Awford’s caretaker spell, Barker has presented the ex-Brighton man with an opportunity to impress.

He will once again start for Pompey in tonight’s trip to Wycombe – and the defender admits he’s revelling in the situation.

‘I always believe in my own ability and know when I play a good run of games I get better,’ said Painter.

‘My old manager at Brighton, Gus Poyet, said the same. He said: “The more games you play the better you get”, so hopefully I will continue to stay in the side and improve.

‘Hopefully I can contribute to the team and progress.

‘It has always been the way with me. I am not one who can just turn it on for one game and then be out the team and come back in and turn it on, that’s never been me.

‘It’s the more games the better, the more confident I get, the fitter I get and sharper I get – and most players are like that.

‘I felt good on Saturday as well and thought we deserved to win the game.

‘We dealt with the conditions quite well at times on what was the bobbliest and sandiest pitch you will ever play on.

‘We got the ball down and played some good stuff at times. Obviously, the wind doesn’t help and sometimes you have to try to play to the conditions by putting the ball into the corners. It isn’t attractive but it’s something you have to try to deal with.

‘We have got to turn the corner soon, surely. I am sure everyone can see since Richie Barker has come in we have improved as a team. We can see that, it’s a fact.’

It was Painter’s delivery from the left which created Jake Jervis’ second goal in the 2-2 draw at Morecambe on Saturday.

Such was the quality of the ball in, the striker had the simplest of finishes at the far post – and for a long time it appeared it would be the match-winner.

Instead, Trevor Carson’s 76th-minute error gifted the visitors a way back and a draw was the outcome.

It means Pompey have taken seven points from Barker’s eight matches in charge, consisting of one win and three defeats.

But the left-back is adamant the improvement in the team is there for all to see.

He added: ‘Sooner or later it is going to change for us.

‘Even when results haven’t gone our way maybe and where we have drawn a game, there have been plenty of matches where I have thought we’ve done all right.

‘We deserve more, but at the moment it’s just not happening – and not through lack of effort.

I think everyone can see that. Sooner or later if you keep setting your standards then you will turn the corner.’