Barker hoping sparkling cameo can kick-start Wallace

Jed Wallace celebrates his goal against Fleetwood Picture: Joe Pepler
Jed Wallace celebrates his goal against Fleetwood Picture: Joe Pepler
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Richie Barker wants Jed Wallace’s Fleetwood spark to reignite the youngster’s season again.

The midfielder ended Pompey’s wait of 376 minutes for a goal when he came off the bench to net a stunning strike against the Cod Army.

Wallace’s 32-minute cameo lit up the Blues as they finished the match, which they eventually lost 3-1, strongly,

The 19-year-old has struggled for form of late and found himself a substitute in three of the past five matches.

Wes Fogden has instead been Barker’s preferred option on the right flank, with Ricky Holmes operating on the left.

However, Highbury Stadium provided a timely reminder of what the attacking midfielder can produce on his day.

And Barker has been left to weigh up whether Wallace has done enough to convince him to grant a recall against York on Saturday.

The Pompey boss said: ‘I thought Jed was fantastic when he came on against Fleetwood.

‘He was a real threat in a more central area – a different role – and looked as though he had the bit between his teeth.

‘He wanted the ball and was in a position where we knew it would be tough for them to pick him up.

‘They ended up slightly changing their formation and changing their personnel to deal with him to an extent.

‘I am sure it will do Jed the world of good, but not only the goal but the performance as well.

‘I thought his all-round performance when he came on was excellent.

‘Maybe he thought he had a point to prove and that is what we want sometimes when somebody gets left out, we want them to come on and force their way into the team.

‘Fair play to him, he might have done just that.’

That Wallace strike ensures he is Pompey’s current top-scorer in League Two this season.

Taking him up to five, in terms of netting in all competitions, he is now joint-top with Patrick Agyemang and David Connolly, who is currently on loan at Oxford.

Surprisingly, it was his first goal since getting the equaliser at Plymouth Argyle back on October 12.

Since then the former Lewes player had gone 24 matches without finding the back of the net – his longest drought since breaking into the first team.

Although, the 19-year-old has weighed in with several assists to aid the club’s goalscoring.

Now he is back up and running and Barker admitted that 11th career goal for Pompey was something special.

He added: ‘What an excellent, well-taken goal that was.

‘He could have had another one after that to be fair.

‘He was causing them (Fleetwood) problems playing a little bit more central.

‘I’d say he scored probably one of our hardest chances in the game.’