Boss calls for patience in bid to reverse Pompey slide

Portsmouth's new Manager Richie Barker during  Portsmouth v Newport County, Sky Bet League Two, Fratton Park, Portsmouth, Sat 14th December, 2013.
Portsmouth's new Manager Richie Barker during Portsmouth v Newport County, Sky Bet League Two, Fratton Park, Portsmouth, Sat 14th December, 2013.
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Richie Barker has urged the Fratton faithful to remain patient as he bids to turn around Pompey’s five-year losing habit.

The Blues have suffered 121 defeats in their last 248 matches, a wretched run stretching back to December 2008.

Barker himself saw his first match in charge end in a 2-0 loss to Newport County last weekend.

The size of the task facing the new boss is evident as he is required to end a malaise which has transcended different managers and different divisions.

Tomorrow Pompey have a crucial trip to struggling Bristol Rovers to jump-start their spluttering season.

And Barker has stressed the importance of being granted the time to change the depressing course of direction.

He said: ‘I am not going to say there is a losing mentality because that is not right – but there has probably been a losing expectation over the last five years.

‘If you are losing one in every two games it is going to take some turning around to change that into a belief and a winning mentality.

‘This club has been through three relegations, two administrations and more owners than you can shake a stick at, so continuity has been a problem.

‘This ball has been rolling down this hill for five years now.

‘It can gather some momentum very quickly and we have to stop it before we can push it back up again. Stopping it is the first job – pushing it back uphill is the easy bit.

‘To do that we must keep working hard, keep having belief in ourselves, trying to have belief in the players, trying to do the right things constantly – like looking at small details people might not consider.

‘The potential is massive and that’s what is keeping us all going.

‘Once we turn it all around we will hopefully be going in the same speed in the opposite direction – but that is easier said than done.

‘I get the feeling, one or two people are starting to run out of patience a little bit – fairly understandably because everyone thought this was the year.

‘It has turned out it is not but it won’t be solved overnight.’

Barker refutes there is a losing mentality within the playing side of the club on the basis none have been ever-present during the five-year period.

Instead the supporters are the ones who have had to endure the constant agony of the on-field results.

He added: ‘There is nobody here that was three or four years ago, not playing-wise or many staff-wise, but I think it does show the size of the task.

‘The only people who have seen it are the fans, they are the ones you have to feel sorry for, yet 15,000 of them still turn out.

‘The quicker we turn it around the quicker we can keep them on our side.’