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Club News

READ | Barker's pre-Reading press highlights

11 August 2022

Club News

READ | Barker's pre-Reading press highlights

11 August 2022

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Rotherham United Assistant Manager Richie Barker spoke to iFollow Millers ahead of the Millers’ Sky Bet Championship fixture with Reading at AESSEAL New York Stadium this Saturday.

Barker and the rest of the staff were back at Roundwood this morning following last night’s Carabao Cup victory over Port Vale, as preparations step up ahead of the Royal visit to South Yorkshire.

You can read highlights from the interview below, with video clips to appear shortly on iFollow Millers.


Barker on Port Vale win…

“It was a typical early round cup game, on what is probably the biggest pitch in the whole EFL. We got what we wanted out of the game, I feel, a lot of the lads got minutes.

“We’re in the next round and when you look at the draw and how a lot of the other Championship club got on, I think the job we did should not be underestimated, with a lot going out to lower league clubs.

“We’re really pleased, we probably made it harder work than it should’ve been, but it there were a number of reasons for that.”


Barker on getting the chance to look at different players in a competitive environment…

“Competitive games are always different, you can play in friendlies sometimes and they can be a little bit more tentative.

“There were people who we needed to get minutes into and obviously the elephant in the room is that we were playing on a Wednesday evening, so we had to tinker with the team a little bit with Saturday’s game in mind.

“What that did enable us to do was get minutes in five new players, with four of them playing in the back five.”


Barker on how to help build on-pitch relationships between new players…

“It can be challenging initially, as I said four of the back five have never played together before. They’ve played a part in the training sessions, obviously.

“Jamie [McCart] had picked up a knock when he joined, as did Peter [Kioso] and Cohen [Bramall], add to that Pelts only joined a couple of weeks ago.

“You have to cast your mind back and think what sessions they’d been in. I’ve just shown Jamie his clips and he admitted because him and Cohen were playing together for the first time, the understanding wasn’t there initially, but it did improve as the game went on.

“I think we forget that this time last year, we were probably having similar with REG and Chieo for example, but by December it looked like clockwork.

“It won’t happen overnight, but we’re confident it will come in time.”


Barker on what taking on information was like when he was a player…

“It’s funny because I was thinking about this the other day and the game is almost unrecognisable these days.

“I think the way people recruit and the way the game is played is very different. Even in our tenure we’ve gone through a range of different shapes and formations.

“4-2-3-1 was the mainstay of the EFL at one point, as was 4-4-2 once upon a time. Now the evolution of the game has gone to most teams playing three at the back.

“I’ve not doubt that eventually it will go back to something else.

“The players these days want the information, they have come through academies where they were coached, whereas we just played.

“As a coach, that is quite nice, as you feel like you can influence people. The game has changed and as a coach, it means it has changed, too.

“The best players make the best decisions, but it is the hardest thing to coach. We give them options on what they can do, there’s always freedom on it.

“You watch your Liverpool’s and your Manchester City’s of this world for example. Yes, there is a structure to it, but also the players consistently make the right decisions.”

Barker on the fitness of Conor Washington and Peter Kioso…

“They are a little bit stiffer and soarer than we hoped, really. Obviously, we will reassess them again tomorrow.

“It wasn’t ideal obviously, in terms of our preparation having to take them off early and a few people playing more minutes than we wanted, but it is part of the game.”



Barker on Tom Eaves and JJ…

“They were both doing some finishing work with the physios earlier today. A big part of it is having confidence to strike the ball and sprint.

“Tom is due back on the grass with us next week and he’s chomping at the bit really. I think him having a second setback in the summer has made us be a little more safe with his rehab and ensuring it won’t happen again.”


Barker on having the players in the day after Port Vale…

“It’s amazing how many calls and texts I’ve had asking if I’m off today, obviously we were back in at 9am this morning. It was a mixture of information and a numbers check, but also trying to rehab them and get information in them.

“Obviously, there was not point trying to cram 48 hours’ worth of information into them in just one day, so it was the correct decision to come in.”


Barker on Reading test…

“It’s a really tough game who have had a mixed start, but have very good players and a manager I know really well.

“We had a good start against Swansea and we want to build on that, the lads all want to be involved and are desperate to play.”

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