Pompey safety Barker remit – but McInnes hopes for more

Iain McInnes
Iain McInnes
Pompey boss Kenny Jackett

Fratton bearpit can swing play-offs Pompey’s way

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Iain McInnes insists avoiding relegation is the primary aim for Richie Barker.

But the Pompey chairman still retains hope a play-off spot can be achieved this season.

Barker has been brought in along with Steve Coppell to kick-start the spluttering Blues and push them up the table.

At present they are 17th, five points clear of the relegation zone and 10 points adrift of the play-offs.

The short-term target is to put distance between them and the bottom two clubs, starting with this weekend’s visit of Newport County.

McInnes estimates 50 points would achieve that – but concedes he has also cast his eyes towards the play-offs.

He said: ‘Steve Coppell says he sees two promotions in this football club considering the way it is structured at this moment in time.

‘As far as we are concerned, if that is what he sees and that is what he thinks they can achieve then we will back them to do it.

‘Richie’s remit is to consolidate – the first target is 50 points this season.

‘You would say 50 points gets you out of relegation so that has got to be the first target – and clearly not one we had at the start of the season but one we have to deal with now.

‘The second target is, quite frankly, to get us as high up the league as we possibly can and he doesn’t feel the play-offs are unreasonable.

‘He has said you need five out of every eight points to get into the play-offs, which is something to look at.

‘Richie is very self-confident, you can tell that by looking at him. He is very ambitious, which is good.

‘Steve actually said one of the things that attracted them is if you look at the history of the football club and you look at the passion of the supporters, the manager who finds himself in control of the football club when that comes together is going to be one lucky so-and-so.’

Director of football Coppell will be generally keeping a low profile at Fratton Park, with Barker the figurehead and in control.

Yet the ex-Reading boss was present for the interview process and McInnes believes the management pairing displays a fascinating chemistry.

He added: ‘Richie has the ear of Steve Coppell and the relationship between the two of them is so good.

‘We have spent hours in their company now and it really does fit like a glove in hand.

‘Steve is the Encyclopedia Britannica, but with legs.

‘He’s very thoughtful, has a dry sense of humour and has been the LMA manager of the year twice – although you have to kind of prompt him to talk about his great experience in the game.

‘Clearly he’s a guy who can do whatever he wants to do.

‘And he wants to spend all his time in helping to run a football club, which is great and what we need.’