Barker gets his man

Toumani Diagouraga
Toumani Diagouraga

RICHIE BARKER revealed he has landed his prime loan target in Toumani Diagouraga.

Diagouraga yesterday sealed a month’s stay at Fratton Park from League One leaders Brentford.

Pompey fended off interest from higher-division rivals to bring in the 26-year-old on loan.

Barker believes Diagouraga will add another dimension to his options in the middle of park.

He feels the Frenchman will bring a box-to-box energy to his team, as he comes straight into his manager’s thinking for the trip to high-flying Scunthorpe on Saturday.

Barker was delighted to see his patience pay off by bringing in the player.

And the Blues manager explained he was always at the head of his list when it came to his loan priorities.

Barker said: ‘I’m delighted to get him.

‘He will certainly add some legs to the team and the ability to get around the pitch.

‘I think that’s a different option to what we have at the moment.

‘I think he gives us something a bit different.

‘It took some work. It wasn’t quick and we had to bide our time to get him in as well.

‘We highlighted the player we wanted but it didn’t happen overnight, that is for sure.

‘There has been a lot of man hours which have gone into this.

‘There were other teams interested – teams in higher divisions.

‘But I think the attraction of playing for Portsmouth was one of the factors in him choosing us.

‘We’re very pleased to have him here.’

Diagouraga has made 168 appearances in four years at Brentford, after arriving at the club from Peterborough.

He came through the ranks at Watford and had loan spells at Swindon and Rotherham, before joining Hereford permanently after a temporary stay.

Diagouraga has played 17 times for the Bees this season but has not featured since New Year’s Day, with manager Mark Warburton indicating he was keen for the player to get some match time away from the Londoners.

Barker feels Pompey have landed a player who belongs at a higher level.

He added: ‘Bearing in mind he’s been playing now in the top six of League One for 18 months, for a fairly regular basis he’s a good catch for us.

‘He’s a top League One player.

‘He’s played at this level before, so it won’t be a major shock for him.

‘But the only way we can keep improving is to keep getting players who are playing at a good level.

‘He’s been doing that for the last 18 months – and doing that well.

‘He speaks good English and he’ll know a couple of the boys here already, which will help him get to grips with things here.

‘It’s a busy month coming up, so getting Toumani in was crucial for us really.’