Barker open to striker arrival

Ryan Bird opened the scoring for Cambridge United in their 4-0 FA Trophy final win against Gosport Borough
Ryan Bird opened the scoring for Cambridge United in their 4-0 FA Trophy final win against Gosport Borough
Dion Donohue. Picture: Colin Farmery

New boy’s bitter-sweet Pompey experience

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Pompey are open to the possibility of bolstering their striking ranks before Thursday’s emergency loan deadline.

In addition, Richie Barker will make a decision on Ryan Bird’s loan situation with Cambridge following tonight’s game at Rochdale.

There is still room in the Fratton Park budget to recruit before the loan window comes to a close.

Barker’s priority is another striker – despite Michael Drennan yesterday extending his loan until the season’s end.

However, Pompey’s boss admits he would only sanction a move for a ‘special’ player.

In the meantime, Bird’s two-month loan at Cambridge ends this week and the U’s are keen to extend it for a third and final month.

Pompey had the striker watched by chief scout Martin Hinshelwood in Cambridge’s 4-0 FA Trophy final victory over Gosport on Sunday, where the 26-year-old opened the scoring.

Barker must now decide whether to have him return to the Blues – although there is no recall clause for David Connolly at Oxford.

Barker said: ‘We don’t want to end up with players despondent because they can’t get near the squad – we need to keep everyone having the belief they will keep being involved.

‘But if that special player comes up then we will get them in.

‘If somebody crops up that suddenly wasn’t available before, we may do that. But mostly people we’ve looked at aren’t available.

‘Usually when you see a striker move it means another six strikers are going to move, it just sets off a chain. That might happen but if it doesn’t, it doesn’t.

‘With Ryan, we will see how tonight goes and make a decision from there. As long as we do it before Thursday.

‘In terms of his mentality, he now has got used to scoring goals, but we do have to be well aware it’s at a totally different level.

‘If he comes back and plays a part, it is obviously up to him to fight his way into the team.’