Barker dismisses old pals’ act

Anthony Williams, in his playing days at Wrexham
Anthony Williams, in his playing days at Wrexham
Pompey boss Kenny Jackett, right. Picture: Shaun Boggust

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Richie Barker dismissed the idea that his new assistant has joined Pompey as part of an old pals’ act and insisted: He is the right man.

Anthony Williams replaced Steve Allen as assistant boss this week with the former goalkeeper having worked alongside Barker at both Bury and Crawley.

But Barker pointed to the work ethic, knowledge and familiarity with his methods as the reasons behind his appointment to his backroom staff.

Barker explained: ‘People have this perception of managers employing their mates.

‘I’ve got to say he is no mate of mine. He might think he is, but he isn’t!

‘We have nothing to do with each other apart from the fact that we work in the same place.

‘I don’t have that many mates. I don’t have time for many.

‘It’s just about having that understanding. When you move clubs, that’s when you recognise what you have left in terms of an understanding of how you worked.

‘Having someone around who has that recognition of your little habits makes it easier.

‘But he is extremely hard-working. He will be at training in the morning, watch a game in the afternoon, watch another game in the evening, watch three DVDs of the opposition and bring back the information.’

The duo struck up their working relationship at Bury, although they did play alongside each other in a short loan spell.

Barker said: ‘I played briefly on loan with him for about a month.

‘Then we didn’t speak for 11 years and he then applied for the job of goalkeeper coach at Bury when I got the job there.

‘He was working for Wales under-17, under-19 and under-21 as goalkeeper coach at the time and brought some good knowledge of some of the younger players at academies around the country.

‘The longer we worked together, the better his knowledge of me and how I work became.’

Barker added: ‘I was going to work with the existing staff initially but I didn’t know Steve (Allen) was going to leave.

‘When that role was open, the fact that Taff (Williams) does two jobs as assistant and goalkeeping coach helps with the finances a little bit as well.’

– STEVE WILSON