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READ | Barker's pre-Portsmouth press highlights

25 November 2019

Rotherham United assistant manager Richie Barker was on iFollow Millers duty ahead of the trip to Portsmouth on Tuesday night in Sky Bet League One...

Barker spoke about the comeback win at the weekend, the thought processes behind any changes will be made for the midweek trip to the South Coast and gave an update on team news, as well as some insight into our opponents at Fratton Park.

Full video content available HERE on iFollow Millers…

Barker on MK Dons comeback win...

"Obviously we're very pleased. In terms of how it went, it was an actual game of two halves. I don't think anybody saw that result coming after half an hour and certainly at half time we were pleased to get in at 2-0 down.

"We knew that we could make changes and we knew that we couldn't do any worse. 

"We try and instill the mentality that it isn't over until we get to the final whistle."

Barker on importance of the squad...

"We constantly make sure that everyone is as best prepared as they can be because we just don't know. 

"The manager says most mornings that nobody knows who is going to be the player that scores the winner at the weekend and genuinely, when the team was announced at 1:45pm on Saturday afternoon, I don't think anybody envisaged that it was going to go that way.

"We'll keep trying to prepare everyone as best we can and include them as best we can."

Barker on impact of substitutes...

"That's what they're for. We've not had a game where we haven't made a substitution. 

"It is pleasing as a manager, assistant or coach when you make decisions like that and they come off because I'm sure there will be plenty of times that we make a substitution and it won't work.

"It is nice when you make changes and it makes a positive impact."

Barker on potential for changing the side up following impressive performances...

"We've spent the whole weekend together so there has been plenty of conversations. Obviously you add Chieo [Ogbene] back into that, so there is a lot more competition.

"Competition for places creates what we had at the weekend - players coming on and having a point to prove."

Barker on season so far and current fourth position...

"This league table now will be irrelevant in five months time. It is about point accumulation and at the moment, we've got the tally we'd been hoping for and we're not at the halfway point of the league yet.

"There is a long way to go but we've given ourselves a chance. We also know we're on a good run of form. Somewhere along the line there will be a sticky patch, but to be successful it is about how small you can make that and how successful you can make your real good times."

Barker on team news ahead of Portsmouth...

"There were a few knocks and niggles after MK Dons and we've had half a dozen players in the treatment room this morning, but we're hoping that there's nothing that's particularly major. 

"We'll go out on the training pitch and we'll put a few through their paces before travelling down to Portsmouth, so hopefully we'll get up in the morning and any 50/50 situations will go in a positive way after a good night's sleep.

Barker on Kyle Vassell's return to first-team action...

"There are different aspects to think about when deciding whether or not Vass can start a game.Physically he has to be ready, but tactically he has to be right too.The main thing is that we try to keep him injury free and in the 18, and if that means we have to wait a bit longer, so be it."

Barker on the fitness of Joe Mattock and Chiedozie Ogbene's return from suspension...

"Unfortunately for Joe he still has a bit of work to do. He has to get through a good few days’ worth of training, so what we can't do is just put him in and after five minutes something happens to him. 

"There are certain boxes he's got to tick on a regular basis in training before we can comfortably and confidently say he's fine to play. 

"Chieo knows that somebody being successful in his position during his absence means he's got work to do, but it will be good to have him around. He's a popular lad who has plenty to say, so he'll be making sure everyone knows he's back available again."

Barker gives an update on Shaun MacDonald...

"We have to be careful with him and do things slowly because of the nature of the illness, but everybody is pleased to see him back around the place. It was a nightmare him not being in for a few weeks so he got a good reception upon his return and as soon as he steps foot on the grass again, the lads will be delighted as he's a great guy."

Barker previews the trip to Fratton Park...

"It's a quick turnaround, but when you're winning that's happy days because you want the games to keep coming. This is a game between two very in-form teams and both are looking to try and get into the top six come the end of the season.

"I'm expecting it to be a decent game as they're right up there in the home form table and we're right up there on the road, so maybe something gives or it happens to be something in between."

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