Barker undecided on Bird’s Pompey future

Ryan Bird. Picture: Joe Pepler
Ryan Bird. Picture: Joe Pepler

Richie Barker has admitted he remains undecided whether Ryan Bird has a Pompey future.

Although, a profitable spell at Skrill Premier Cambridge United could be heavily persuasive.

The Blues have a 12-month option on the 26-year-old, whose contract expires in the summer.

As it stands, he is unlikely to return to Fratton Park for the remainder of this season as he spends his time on loan with the promotion-chasing U’s.

Having netted two goals on his debut and got a match-winning penalty to assure their progress into the FA Trophy semi-finals, the weather has contrived to restrict Bird’s appearances of late.

Nonetheless, the former Burnham striker has made an encouraging initial impact at the Abbey Stadium.

And Barker is watching his progress with interest as he weighs up Pompey’s squad make-up next season.

‘We have an option on Ryan and I have not decided,’ said Barker.

‘That is why I have sent him out on loan, so we can see where we are with him and, to be fair to Cambridge, they are six places below us in the pyramid so he’s as close as he can be in terms of levels.

‘If he is successful there then, obviously, he will play a part.

‘He just needed football, he needed to reinvent himself a little bit and I think he made the right decision to go there.

‘At 3.15pm on his debut it was looking a fantastic decision!

‘The lad wants to play football. He’s in his first year as a professional footballer, he hasn’t come here just to travel around and enjoy his time.

‘I did jokingly say to Ryan to go and score 10 in 10, come back here and he’ll be back in the team.

‘There is every chance he might do if he keeps going the way he is going.

‘He’s really keen, is really willing to learn, has a fantastic attitude, and obviously it has been tough for him in his first year in professional football.

‘He’s come a long way from a centre-half playing non-league three years ago.’

Bird has made 22 Pompey appearances, only eight of which have been starts, scoring three times.