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Portsmouth manager Richie Barker intent on survival

4 March 2014

By Tony Leighton

Slowly but surely, Portsmouth are getting their Sky Bet League 2 act together under recently appointed manager Richie Barker.

Former Bury and Crawley Town boss Barker, who arrived at Fratton Park in December, has had 15 games in charge - losing the first two.

But though Pompey, who were a Premier League club as recently as 2010, are still in the bottom half of the table they are edging clear of relegation danger.

A highly creditable goalless draw at top of the table Chesterfield on Monday evening lifted Barker's team to 15th place, seven points above the drop zone.

Barker told football-league.co.uk: "To come to the league leaders and come away disappointed that we've only got one point tells you about our performance.

"Everyone stuck to the game plan and we played well. I'm not the sort of person to pat myself on the back for the game plan, but the lads did really well.

"That's 13 games now with only three defeats and seven clean sheets. That shows that we're turning the corner, but we've still got a long way to go.

"Until we get well over 50 points [Pompey now have 40] I won't say that we have actually turned any corners, but we are certainly making progress.

"I have to say 'fair play' to the players, who have been absolutely fantastic since I've been here. But, as I've said, we still have a long way to go."

Pompey have a long way to go to restore their former status, but after serious financial problems in recent years they seem to be on the road to recovery.

Barker is setting his aims high for Pompey's long term future, but in the short term he is focused only on making sure he keeps his team in The Football League.

He has 12 games of the campaign remaining to achieve that objective, and he added: "We are building to try and get promoted next season.

"But survival is the first aim this year, and the second aim [once survival is assured] will be to finish as high up the table as possible.

"Then we'll start preparing for next season. But right now we're still in the bottom 10 and we have to focus on the job in hand.

"What we are trying to do is put ourselves in the position to ensure that, this time next year, we'll be looking to be where Chesterfield are at the moment."For all the latest news on Portsmouth please click here


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