Barker stays calm under pressure

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Richie Barker insists he will be staying calm as the pressure on him intensifies.

The Blues boss has become a target for an increasing number of disillusioned fans as Pompey have tumbled to within one place and three points of the League Two relegation zone.

Pompey boss Richie Barker Picture; Joe Pepler

Pompey boss Richie Barker Picture; Joe Pepler

A five-match winless run, where they have scored just one goal, has left Barker’s side in deep trouble and desperate for some kind of positive result tonight at league leaders Rochdale.

Pompey could find themselves in the bottom two if they lose and rivals Northampton beat AFC Wimbledon – although the Blues currently hold a four-goal advantage in goal difference.

But Barker has shrugged off the growing fears of Pompey being relegated from the Football League and suggested he was under the most pressure from his own personal demands of himself.

‘The most pressure I am under is what I put myself under to be successful,’ said Barker.

‘I just get on with the job. I carry on working as hard as I can and doing the best I can.

‘Once you become a manager, you get pressure piled on you from everywhere so nothing changes.

‘If you can’t handle it, you need to go and do something else.

‘I don’t feel under any more pressure (after the York defeat) than I was under.

‘There is as much pressure as there was when I took over. That hasn’t changed.

‘If you start thinking about the scary thought of relegation, you take away the ability to think under pressure and make the right decisions.

‘I don’t want it to happen any more than anyone else does.

‘But I am the one who has to keep a calm head and keep everyone around us calm.’

Barker believes he saw enough positive signs in the 1-0 loss to York at the weekend to suggest his team can climb away from danger.

He said: ‘I’m still confident we will get out of this.

‘I saw enough to be positive about at the York game.

‘We dominated the game and bearing in mind we played almost the whole of the second half with 10 men after Ben Chorley was sent off.

‘We’ve had a tough run of games but a win would change the mentality of everyone.

‘To be fair to the players, they were disappointed they didn’t get any reward for their fantastic effort at the weekend.

‘They are determined to put that right.’

And while Barker is fully aware of the situation, he is not relying on other results to go his way.

‘We are well aware of where we are,’ he added.

‘But I am not one for looking at other teams’ fixtures.

‘I know what we need to do. We can only control the controllables – we can’t do anything about other results.’