Barker seeing Pompey attacking progress

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Richie Barker believes Pompey are progressing in his attempts to improve their attacking capabilities.

The Blues manager has considerably shored up a defence which was a liability under predecessor Guy Whittingham.

Pompey boss Richie Barker. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey boss Richie Barker. Picture: Joe Pepler

Offensively the team has been a concern, though, with supporters alarmed at the lack of cutting edge.

For Barker, however, there were tangible signs in last weekend’s 1-1 draw at Exeter City that his side’s attacking capabilities have increased.

Pompey had 15 attempts on the Grecians’ goal, with Jake Jervis’ finish one of four on target.

That is compared to only two attempts on goal from the Wycombe and Torquay fixtures.

The Blues require a win against AFC Wimbledon tomorrow as they bid to put space between them and the relegation zone.

And Barker has been encouraged by the St James Park showing.

He said: ‘Last week the conditions weren’t great –both with the wind and the pitch – but I think, all-in-all, there were about 32 chances created between both teams which is testimony to everybody.

‘In terms of attacking, I was more pleased than I had been for a while.

‘We were more creative and I thought we put their back four under more pressure.

‘That’s something we have been working on for the last couple of weeks.

‘There were things we had worked on in the previous week which the players have started to take on board.

‘Giving them information in training is one thing but getting them to take information on board in training is a different thing.

‘Maybe the penny is starting to drop a little bit.

‘It’s not just attacking a bit more – it’s doing the things we have asked to create the chances in the areas we want to.

‘They always want to attack but it is having a framework to attack from.

‘At Exeter we were a little bit more positive as a group and as individuals as well.

‘We put their back four under more pressure, we made them defend more and were a little bit more creative.

‘But we’ve still got more to do.’

Defensively under Barker, Pompey have conceded 11 goals in 11 matches, keeping four clean sheets.

At the other end, they have managed only seven goals in that period – one of which was a penalty.

That goalscoring problem clearly needs addressing urgently if the Blues are to avoid a nail-biting finale to the League Two campaign.

And Barker is adamant it is a work in progress.

He added: ‘We didn’t stop conceding goals and make them a bit surer in defence overnight – so we aren’t going to create more chances and score more goals overnight.

‘It is not going to happen straight away.

‘It takes time but Exeter was a step in the right direction.’