Barker weighs up ‘fantastic’ Painter future

Pompey defender Marcos Painter Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey defender Marcos Painter Picture: Joe Pepler
Joe Hancott was 16 years and 161 days when he made his Pompey debut in the Checkatrade Trophy against Fulham Under-21s on Wednesday night Picture: Joe Pepler

From Pompey apprentice to record holder - in seven weeks

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Richie Barker would have no qualms with a metaphorical daughter bringing home Marcos Painter to meet the family.

Yet, in reality, he is closing in on the decision whether to prolong the left-back’s Pompey stay.

The 27-year-old’s Fratton Park deal – signed in August – expires this week.

Certainly Painter has fought hard to be considered for a renewal under Barker following a string of solid performances.

That was topped with arguably his best Pompey display yet in the weekend goalless draw at Oxford.

Injuries and having been out of favour with previous boss Guy Whittingham had kept the ex-Birmingham defender on the sidelines for two months.

The arrival of Barker has, however, seen him start the past five matches, returning three clean sheets in the process.

Painter’s claim is growing ever stronger, although the arrival of Nicky Shorey has created extra competition for the left-back spot.

Still, Shorey played in midfield in the Kassam Stadium stalemate, demonstrating both can play in the same side.

Now Barker is weighing up whether to keep Painter for the remainder of the season at the very least.

‘I will have a conversation with Marcos this week,’ said Barker.

‘He had an issue in one of the home games against Dagenham and came off (injured), but to be fair to him he worked extremely hard to play three days later.

‘And since Daniel Potts went back to West Ham, he hasn’t really had any competition for his place and now he obviously has got some.

‘Marcos is probably the sort of person you would say, if your daughter brought home a footballer, you would want it to be him.

‘He is that sort of person – very sensible, fantastic attitude in training, a real listener and fantastic person to have around.

‘He’s very understanding when you make decisions and speak to him, certainly not a bad person to have about.

‘I can imagine him just enjoying football for many, many years to come.

‘He seems okay at the moment but I am well aware of his injury history and the fact he very rarely didn’t play two games in a row.

‘But the fact is he’s played the last five, which is probably one of his best runs, and has kept his spot.’

Painter was released from Brighton in the summer and maintained his fitness in the company of Birmingham’s development side.

He was signed by Pompey, having impressed in training, making 11 appearances to date.

Yet, earlier in his Blues stay, niggling issues kept him out and raised questions over his long-term availability.