Chairman issues backing to Barker

Richie Barker is unveiled as Pompey's new boss back in December
Richie Barker is unveiled as Pompey's new boss back in December
Milan Lalkovic in pre-season action against the Hawks

Pompey winger set for return against Walsall

68
Have your say

Iain McInnes insists he still has faith that Pompey boss Richie Barker will keep the Blues in the Football League this season.

After another chastening afternoon for the Blues chairman, McInnes was staying positive that the club will retain its League Two status beyond this season, as dissenting voices among the supporters start to grow louder over the managerial appointment.

Barker has not fully won over the majority of fans as yet and mutterings of discontent could intensify at Fratton Park tomorrow night for the visit of Accrington Stanley.

Many, however, believe that he is on the right track and needs to be given time to put his own stamp on things.

With Barker ordering that no players spoke to the media after the 5-1 loss on Saturday, McInnes fronted up to try to put a brave face on things.

McInnes said: ‘I am still confident we will avoid relegation.

‘I’m not falsely confident but I believe the management team has got the nous to make sure that we do enough to stay up.

‘I’ll be honest, at the start of the season we were looking to do better than this. But it’s like doing exams, although I did mine a long time ago now!

‘You aim for 70 or 80 per cent and you end up getting 40, but it’s still a pass. That’s how I feel about it.

‘We will then judge the management team when they get their own players training the way they want them to train and playing the way they want them to play.

‘It’s difficult to do that half way through a season.

‘I can certainly understand people being disappointed and frustrated but I’ve got to remain upbeat.

‘I think we have to be positive.

‘It’s difficult to say it after we’ve lost 5-1, but I think we are seeing progress.’

Considering the optimism that surrounded the club in the summer, the campaign has been one of huge disappointment.

Although the bookmakers disagreed, most Pompey fans would have been quite happy with a mid-table placing and a run at the play-offs, even if it ended in another season in League Two.

But with a playing budget that puts Pompey at least in the top eight clubs in the division, nobody was contemplating another relegation battle.

And McInnes knows exactly how important tomorrow night’s clash with Accrington has become.

‘It hasn’t been easy this season,’ said McInnes.

‘We’ve had a few highs but not too many and quite a few lows. This is certainly one of those.

‘It’s now a question of picking everyone back up off the floor again.

‘The Scunthorpe chairman told me that they have played as well as that this season but not got goals.

‘But they were saying how they felt everything they hit went in.

‘I thought they looked a really good side. The only bright spark in the whole day for us was when (Michael) Drennan scored.

‘It’s clear we’ve got to get three points on Tuesday. It couldn’t be a more important game.

‘We’ve got a lot of tough away fixtures coming up.

‘So we’ve got to stick together and make sure that we make it work.’