Pompey midfielder's willing to play centre-half again
Adam Barton is ready to once more serve as a Pompey centre-half.
The 25-year-old last season spent as much time in the centre of defence as in his native midfield role.
Such was Paul Cook’s confidence in Barton’s new-found versatility, he was named alongside Christian Burgess for both semi-final play-off legs against Plymouth.
That’s despite Jack Whatmough being available.
The close season has seen Adam Webster depart Fratton Park and Matt Clarke remain.
And Barton is prepared to again stake a claim as a Blues central defender.
He said: ‘The way I have seen it, although you are playing centre-back you are not actually doing a centre-back role.
‘I probably receive the ball more than the central midfielders at times and probably go forward more.
‘It is not exactly a centre-halve’s role where you head it and kick it, it is more of a ball-playing position.
‘If I end up filling in or playing there again next season, I will be very happy to do so.
‘The manager has never really said whether he sees my future in that role. Although he has told me he likes me there.
‘I have been asked if I like it and replied yes. Especially the way we play.
‘He does not expect me to play the role of winning every single header – he seems to think I read the game very well.
‘It’s not much different to playing a deep-lying midfield role because you can always go back to the keeper, you get the ball deep and see the full picture.
‘The only difference is you probably have more time on the ball, which suits me even better.
‘It is different when you are the last man, so that is the learning point where you have got to be more careful in possession, but I have played enough games to understand that and know the situation.
‘I’m not going into it raw though. You are in training every day, you listen to the manager every day.
‘If you stuck me on the right wing I probably wouldn’t be able to do a better job than the right wingers, but I would know what he wants.
‘That is what we have in the team – everyone knows the philosophy and everyone knows what to do.’
Burgess, Whatmough and Clarke represent the conventional central defenders in Pompey’s squad.
Barton is another option – and he is waiting to see if Cook opts to bring in any more defensive competition.
He added: ‘I don’t have a clue if he will bring any other central defenders in.
‘Whatever happens, happens. I just see it as you can only do what you do.
‘If the manager gives you a chance then you take it, if you don’t you have to wait for your next chance.
‘No matter who he brings in you do what you can do and give your best.’