Pompey boss has no qualms about turning to youth

Adam Webster. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (131926-32)
Adam Webster. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (131926-32)

Richie Barker has pledged he won’t be discouraged from throwing youngsters into his side by Pompey’s precarious position.

The Blues sit two places and two points above the League Two relegation zone at present.

Despite one defeat in their last five matches, the gap between the bottom is worryingly closing.

Barker’s squad strengthening has now finished during the current transfer window and he is keen to ship out several players on loan. But regardless of the testing time they face, he is adamant he would have no qualms pitching youngsters into his side during the ongoing fight – if they were good enough.

He said: ‘If a young player is better than the older ones, then they will play.

‘If I think they are going to help us win games they will play.

‘It’s not about their age, it’s about whether they can help us win football matches – if they can then they will play.

‘One thing you have got with younger players is they have more chance of making a mistake, unfortunately that is how they learn – through making those mistakes.

‘But if I believe a younger player is going to help us win a match he will stay there ahead of some of the senior ones.

‘I have given loads of different young players their debuts at loads of different points in a season, so if I feel they are good enough they will play.

‘Ash Harris and Webbo (Adam Webster) are the ones who have been in and around for 18 months now, so they have had plenty of experience.

‘Jack (Whatmough) is a 17-year-old who has had a fair amount of experience and young Dan (Butler) as well, although with his injury it is going to be a little bit longer.

‘I would say they will play a big part next year.’

Whatmough and Harris have both played for Pompey in 2014, although didn’t make the last squad, while Webster has just returned from a loan spell with Aldershot.