Weather hits Pompey plans

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

Pompey’s Boxing Day preparations have been blown off course by the storm.

The Blues’ training session at Furze Lane yesterday was ruined by strong winds.

And boss Richie 
Barker felt it was hard to get any meaningful work done.

Barker said: ‘It was up there with the worst conditions I’ve ever seen.

‘Every time we collected the balls in, another one was blown away.

‘It wasn’t too bad when I arrived at 7.30am.

‘But when we started at 10.30am, it was farcical.

‘It’s fairly open at the university pitches and is no slight on the pitches because the conditions were just bonkers.

‘It wouldn’t have surprised me if the goals have blown over and landed on someone.

‘It was just one of those freak days so you could not have taken anything out of training.

‘Hopefully that will have died down in time for Boxing Day.’

While Fratton Park is more sheltered, Barker is keen to protect the surface as much as possible.

He said: ‘I’m not a big fan of training on the pitch at the ground.

‘To me, the pitch is the special place when you get a real buzz.

‘And for us to play the way we want to play eventually, we need to look after it.

‘We’re at home three times in just over a week so training on it would do it no favours and wouldn’t do the groundsman any favours either.’

The Pompey boss also moved to clarify remarks he made in the wake of the defeat Bristol Rovers with some rumours circulating that certain players have refused to train.

Barker said: ‘Let’s make it clear – it’s not down to anyone refusing to train every day.

‘It’s down to the fact that some of them can’t physically do it.’