Pompey v Stevenage: Adam Barton prepared to adapt and overcome

Adam Barton. Picture: Joe Pepler
Adam Barton. Picture: Joe Pepler

Adam Barton is prepared to see his own numbers decline if it means Pompey start showing their attacking teeth.

The Blues midfielder enjoyed a 95-per-cent pass completion rate in the recent win at Cambridge United.

But he has revealed boss Paul Cook has made his feelings clear that the balance must be struck in keeping possession and creating more goalscoring opportunities.

Barton said: ‘I’m into looking at my stats and my pass completion rate.

‘Against Cambridge, it was 95 per cent from something like 80-odd passes during the game. I was happy with that.

‘But it’s not about those little passes and keeping possession – it’s about scoring a goal, which of course I understand.

‘So the gaffer has been on at me about making more positive passes.

‘I hate giving the ball away and I am always having a go at myself when I do that.

‘But I understand what the gaffer wants.

‘He wants it to be a bit more positive from me. So I need to start looking for those passes that can split a defence a bit more.

‘The gaffer believes I have got that in me, I just need to look for it more.

‘There are stats for everything, so I will have to look for different things now!’

Cook has built his team to pass the ball and control games, rather than play a direct low-risk style.

But the Pompey boss is also demanding some variety to help break stubborn sides down and is prepared to accept the right sort of mistakes.

Barton said: ‘I’ve got to change the way I play a bit.

‘There are times you have to miss people out and hit the longer pass.

‘If it doesn’t come off, it doesn’t matter.

‘It’s good that the manager accepts that you will make a mistake, as long as you are trying to do the right thing.

‘It could be clipping a ball down the line and he doesn’t mind if it goes out for a throw.

‘But I’ve been working on hitting the diagonal pass and putting it into channels, even when it doesn’t seem like there is anyone there!

‘I’ve never really done that before, knowing that it is difficult for players to get on to the end of them.

‘My game is short, sharp passing into the front man’s feet and keeping the ball.

‘It’s different for me, but I’m getting to grips with it.

‘If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. You go and get the ball back and you go and do it again.’

– STEVE WILSON