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Interviews

READ | Barker's pre-Cheltenham Town press highlights

30 September 2021

Rotherham United assistant manager Richie Barker took on iFollow Millers press duties this week ahead of the trip to Cheltenham Town in Sky Bet League One on Saturday.

There was plenty to discuss after a comprehensive home win over AFC Wimbledon in midweek which included a first league goal in Millers colours for Will Grigg and a brace for Michael Smith, as well as a fairly serious-looking injury for Jamie Lindsay.

Barker reserved special praise for Rarmani Edmonds-Green’s display at the heart of the defence whilst providing updates on the injury front and a look ahead to the clash with the Robins.

 

Barker on AFC Wimbledon result and performance...

"Realistically, I think when we looked back at it and took the emotion out of it - in terms of looking at the stats and some of the clips - it probably wasn't as bad as we thought.

"It is important that we continue to drive standards though and sometimes that after a win, we don't just allow everybody to go home and assume that everything is okay.

"It was a great win and it could actually have been more in the end - we had a really good five/ten minute spell in the second half - but we're not just here to make up the numbers. We're here to try and be successful."

 

Barker on Will Grigg getting his first league goal and the age-old cliche of that potentially opening the floodgates...

"I think it will do his confidence good.

"It is an important milestone really, you get that off your back.

"He knows we've still got a lot of work to do and we've got to get him fully match fit which we're getting closer to.

"He's getting more and more understanding of what we expect from him.

"It would have been quite easy for him to lose his confidence and not be what he has been before but hopefully we will get that Will Grigg back.

"I've worked with him before at MK Dons and I knew his work ethic would fit in here. If I didn't, I wouldn't have recommended that we should sign him.

"He is a goalscorer but he has a fantastic work ethic, a real good knowledge of the game and he makes runs sometimes selflishy or unselfishly depending on whether I can get somebody else on it.

"He's bought into it, he wants the team to be successful and hopefully as a bi-product of that, he'll be successful as well."

 

Barker on Michael Smith among the goals again and his belief he can be even better...

"I think there's still improvements in his game to be made and even sat here now, I have to agree [with Paul Warne] that it wasn't one of his greatest performances.

"However, he could have had a hat-trick.

"We won't let him rest and tell him everything was good because he scored two. We want more and we want better. We want people to be striving all the time.

"I think we have a general care about them all becoming better individuals and better players.

"We work on them and we spend loads of time watching their clips back with them."

 

Barker on Rarmani Edmonds-Green's performance and his time with the Millers so far...

"He was absolutely excellent the other day.

"I know Ollie got the Man of the Match again but in terms of never putting a foot wrong at all, I can't actually remember REG making one mistake.

"He is a fantastic player to work with and a great lad. He has a fantastic mentality.

"He was taken off at half-time in the game at Morecambe a few weeks ago and he didn't down tools, didn't come in with the face on the next day, he just got on with it.

"He comes and pulls us and asks if he can work on things and where he can improve.

"He asks us to watch his clips with him and he is constantly trying to better himself. I'm really pleased for him because he could have gone under having been taken off at Morecambe. 

"Hopefully whenever he goes back to Huddersfield, he goes back a better player and we can also sit and look one day and say 'we played a part' in that."

 

Barker on Jamie Lindsay injury...

"I don't have any more news on that at this moment in time.

"It isn't great.

"Jamie did it in the Preston game last year - although I've not been told whether it is the same leg or not.

"It was just one of those strange freak things.

"He's a good healer, who does everything right and is a fantastic person to have around the place in terms of listening but we could be looking at a good few weeks really."

 

Barker on Mickel Miller...

"We're hoping he can complete training today and hopefully he can play a part in the game at the weekend or certainly play a part.

"It isn't just the injury. He was suspended for a couple of weeks before that so it is near-on a month since he played.

"Whether we can get him up to match pace quickly enough, I'm not so sure, but he'll be a useful addition."

 

Barker on team news...

"We've got Wes Harding back from suspension and there aren't any other issues.

"Wilesy had a dead leg coming into the game on Tuesday night and still felt it when he came on. They can be pretty slow in going sometimes so hopefully he'll keep getting better day-by-day. Ideally we could have done without bringing him on, but the Jamie injury meant that we needed to."

 

Barker on Cheltenham Town...

"Firstly, they have done brilliantly to get promoted last year.

"That is no disrespect to Cheltenham Town but I know with things that I've read, they weren't expected to be one of the promoted teams with the resources that they had.

"They've got an excellent up and coming young manager that I played against numerous times when I was a player many years ago.

"A bit like us in the Championship really, they're possibly trying to get to a points total where they can try and retain their place in the league first and foremost.

"I've watched their last two games and they play really good football.

"They're very comfortable on the ball and they try and play out.

"They've had a tough couple of weeks but they've continued to do the right things and I'm sure that it will be another tough game for us at the weekend."

 


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