Coles backs Barker as he bids farewell to Pompey

Dave Coles. Picture: Joe Pepler
Dave Coles. Picture: Joe Pepler
Stuart O'Keefe. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey midfielder will relish facing former club

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Dave Coles bid a second goodbye to Pompey – and backed Richie Barker to transform their fortunes.

The goalkeeping coach yesterday ended almost a month back at Fratton Park as the Blues manager shuffles his backroom pack.

Physio and assistant manager Steve Allen also left last night after three-and-a-half years on the south coast.

With Barker bringing in Anthony Williams to serve as both his assistant and goalkeeping coach, Coles’ short-term agreement was brought to a conclusion.

The 49-year-old previously spent 2005-10 with the Blues, overseeing David James being restored as England keeper and the emergence of Asmir Begovic.

Having recently returned from the United Arab Emirates, Coles is now seeking another club.

But he has praised Pompey’s new manager on his way out.

He said: ‘I have loved it. It’s nice to see some old faces, faces here from the past and smiling faces.

‘I always find in adversity it is hard to find smiles.

‘But those faces are still here – that is good, that is positive for the club.

‘Richie has obviously got his staff and wants to implement things his way, you just have to respect that.

‘He has been honest with me and I can’t speak highly enough of him.

‘We had a conversation and he said he was thinking of X, Y and Z for his staff and I said “look, just be honest with me and 24-hours notice will be fine”.

‘It is refreshing you can actually find a manager who can sit you down in an office and be honest with you. There aren’t many.

‘I think he can turn things around here.

‘He seems quite a methodical guy, knows what he wants to do and sets his stall out early.

‘I just hope the club can back his ambitions.’