Pompey boss wants to discover extent he can rip up squad

Richie Barker. Picture: Joe Pepler
Richie Barker. Picture: Joe Pepler

Richie Barker wants to sit down with the Pompey hierarchy to find out the extent he can rip up his failing squad.

It was another abject display from the Blues as they slumped to a 2-0 defeat at fellow strugglers Bristol Rovers on Saturday.

The result leaves them just two points and three places above the League Two relegation zone.

Barker ripped into the underachieving players afterwards, once more reminding them they are playing for their Pompey futures with the transfer window opening on January 1.

He will also now call them in to train on Christmas Day.

Deals for the likes of Shaun Cooper, Trevor Carson, Thery Racon and Marcos Painter end next month, while Dan Potts has returned to West Ham. And for Barker there is also the matter of the players under contract for the remainder of the season and beyond.

‘I don’t know what I can do (about those on contracts),’ he said.

‘I am going to have to sit down with the people above and work out what we have left to do.

‘But I will get people in who do want to play for the football club.

‘I have got people I think can help us but bringing in one or two isn’t going to change the work ethic of the place.

‘One or two isn’t going to make enough of a difference, so it may be more.

‘If you can’t change them as people then you have to change the people.

‘I don’t know if some of those people recognise how lucky they are to play for Portsmouth Football Club.

‘They haven’t got bad attitudes, I just don’t know if there is enough desire to win the game.

‘When you go out there at 3pm on a Saturday afternoon you have got to make sure you don’t leave anything out – that is the most important two hours of your life but that is not happening.

‘I can change the mentality as quickly as possible if they want to change it but nobody ever had to change mine.

‘I had it for 16 years and nobody had to change it because it didn’t need changing, so that is the frustrating thing.

‘It’s not about me but some of these players were far better players than I was and you never had to change my mentality.

‘If I cannot change their’s then I will have to change them.’

The vast majority of Pompey’s squad have at least two-year deals.

Although Yassin Moutaouakil, Bondz N’Gala, Jed Wallace, Ryan Bird and Phil Smith have contracts which end next summer.

But the on-going problem of player performance is the biggest headache for Barker.

He added: ‘Am I concerned about relegation? I am concerned about the players.

‘The league position will take care of itself if the players do the right things, so it is the players I am concerned about – not the league position.’