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Interviews

READ | Barker's pre-Burton Albion press highlights

9 December 2021

Rotherham United assistant manager Richie Barker took on iFollow Millers press duties for a change of perspective ahead of the hosting of Burton Albion in Sky Bet League One on Saturday.

With games coming thick and fast there was more match action to reflect on in the form of the 5-1 win over Steve Evans' Gillingham, whilst looking back on how the Millers showed character to come from behind and win - the first time in their 19-game unbeaten streak.

As always, team news was up for discussion as well as previewing the test which awaits when the Brewers arrive in South Yorkshire this weekend.

The highlights from the interview are below and you can watch all of the video content here on iFollow Millers HERE.

 

Barker's reflections on Gillingham triumph...

"It is strange sometimes to have come away having won 5-1 and missed a penalty and think we didn't do some of the things that we had talked about.

"We didn't get off to a very good start - fair play to them, they started pretty well. Once we got to grips with what we were asking, I think we won the game quite comfortably, but I still think there is room for improvements.

"I think that's a good sign. If we came away unsure of how we were going to get any better then we'd have work to do.

"It's another three points and another three points closer to where we want to be."

 

 

Barker on lads going behind for the first time during this unbeaten run and the reaction...

"It was a different way of winning the game because I don't think we've gone a goal down that early for a long time.

"There was good strength of character from the players and they responded pretty well, which we hoped they would do but it wasn't a foregone conclusion that we'd then step it up a gear and it would be fine.

"The pleasing point for us I think was the shot that they had that went in, was the last shot that they had on target, which suggests we did learn from our mistake and the goal was a result of a mistake.

"We learnt from that and went back to what we do best."

 

Barker on Richard Wood availability...

"If we'd have been training on Tuesday, he probably would have trained.

"He's trained today and will tomorrow and, touch wood, if he comes in tomorrow morning with no ill-effects then he'll hopefully be available."

 

Barker on team news...

"Mickel felt his groin pull a little bit in the second half of the game the other night, hence why we took him straight off.

"At the moment, we hopefully have no other issues and we've got a clean bill of health.

"There's always something knocking around whether it is a sniffle or a sore ankle, but that is to be expected with the number of games that we've had."

 

 

Barker on keeping an eye on some important games elsewhere in the league on Wednesday...

"I watched the Plymouth game against MK Dons. Steven Schumacher, who has just taken over was my captain when I first became a manager 10 years ago, so it is nice to see him getting a managerial opportunity.

"MK Dons are obviously my old club, so I had a bit of a vested interest, added to the fact that they are both top six clubs.

"We've had it before where we've looked at results elsewhere that have a bearing on our own fortunes but you have to be careful not to let it bog you down and use negative energy, but I have to say, for the last five minutes of the Wigan game, I was willing a draw!

"At the end of the day, it will be about what we do. Yes, you need a little bit of help sometimes and I have to say that the top 10 is so strong that there is always going to be someone playing someone else."

 

Barker on the tightness at the top of Sky Bet League One...

"I have to say, I'm amazed that we are still joint top - and in fairness to Wigan, who could go above us with their game in-hand.

"You put a run like we have together and are still only joint top, so either, everyone else has done unbelievably well, or we were a bit behind before we went on this run.

"Normally in a 14-game unbeaten run, with just a few draws in there, you would be five points clear by now.

"To be fair to Wycombe and Wigan and even Sunderland, MK Dons and others who are not far behind us, it just shows you really.

"It's a good job we went on the run because who knows where we'd be now!"

 

Barker on Burton Albion...

"He [Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink] did a brilliant job there last year in terms of their run of form for the last dozen games or so - which was promotion form.

"To take over a struggling team and end up with the record that he had is great.

"In fairness, this year, without being disrespectful to them you look where they are with the size of some of the clubs around them and it is some achievement.

"They're mixing with your Sunderlands, your Ipswichs and you Portsmouths.

"He's done a great job and is clearly somebody who knows the club really well and he's got the right people in.

"It will be another tough game for us - equally as tough as the previous 19 - and the main aim is to come away with the three points."

 


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