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Interviews

READ | Barker's pre-Lincoln City press highlights

17 January 2022

Rotherham United assistant manager Richie Barker faced pre-Lincoln City press duties on Monday afternoon as he spoke with members of the local media ahead of Tuesday night’s Sky Bet League One action at AESSEAL New York Stadium.

Paul Warne's right-hand man discussed a number of topics ranging from why Kieran Sadlier was absent at the weekend, to the ongoing situations surrounding Freddie Ladapo and Curtis Tilt, whilst looking ahead to a tough assignment at home to the Imps.

You can read the key points in our press highlights below, with video content to follow on iFollow Millers shortly HERE.

 

Barker on Kieran Sadlier injury situation...

"He's trained today. It was a knock from the previous game at Queens Park Rangers which was a sore calf through a dead leg.

"On Friday he got another knock on it and it hadn't quite gone away, so he has had the weekend for treatment and he feels okay now."

 

Barker on overall squad health...

"There are a few knocks and niggles.

"Predominantly it was a fairly busy training ground this morning.

"As usual, there were a few 24-hour things like knocks on the ankle and soreness on the knees and things like that.

"Hopefully, and at the moment, we should be selecting from a full squad."

 

Barker on Tilt and Ladapo and whether they have trained today...

"Freddie has been in, Curtis hasn't.

"There was some hope I think that a deal was being spoken about throughout the day, of which I think Curtis needed to be close to a phone.

"I don't have an update on anything further down the line but he won't be in the squad tomorrow.

"At that particular time, it was probably better that he concentrated on any news that may break whilst we were training."

 

Barker on whether he feels like there has been any effect on the squad's morale in the January transfer window...

"You could say that potentially because we lost on Saturday.

"I think up until then, we had won the two previous games before the QPR game, and then we took a team who are in the top five in the Championship away from home all the way through two hours and only got beaten on sudden death penalties.

"In terms of any upset in the camp, people might base that on the fact that we lost at the weekend. Even that was a 96th minute goal from a free kick which we should have defended and are disappointed about.

"I think if we hadn't had done that we'd have come away with a scrappy 0-0 as the team who had created the better chances.

"Then I'm not so sure that it would be suggested that two people who perhaps see their futures elsewhere has affected the mood within the camp.

"In fairness to Freddie and Curtis, it's not their fault as they didn't play at the weekend."

 

Barker on his assessment of the season so far...

"We're in a wonderful position, and a position that I'm pretty certain that everyone at the football club would have taken come the 1st August or the middle of July when we were starting our pre-season training and building this squad.

"Our aim was always to finish as high as possible and get half way through the season to see where we are.

"I think, with two games in-hand with an opportunity to go back to the top of the league, making it to the Third Round of the FA Cup and still in the Papa John's Trophy, it has been so far a very successful season.

"However, that will also be judged by where we finish come the start of May.

"We haven't achieved anything yet, but I think everyone at the club should be extremely proud of what has happened so far - breaking club records and being entertaining in the way that we play.

"It is a group of players that I think everyone connected with the club should be proud of.

"We're only half way through and we know what we've got to do, but we've given ourselves a chance."

 

Barker on moving off top spot and how that affects the mindset...

"I think you have to understand that when you are top of the league, everyone that you play against raises their game by another 10%.

"That is something we have to cope with. I think there were a lot of things said in the press for two or three months, where a lot of managers had commented on us being one of the most difficult teams to play against in the league.

"That leads to teams preparing and telling themselves they have to be at their best against us.

"Ultimately, you end up playing against a team that is squeezing 10% out of themselves, but that is something we have to deal with ourselves and manage.

"I think the fact that we were top for an amount of time is something that the players were very proud of, but also something we didn't talk about on a regular basis.

"We were always talking about the next game and pretty much moved on and see where we end up.

"For some of them, it's a bit of unknown territory as it's their first season in first team football.

"We've still got a long way to go, but we are aware that even in the position we are in now, teams will put a bit extra in."

 

Barker on aiming not to lose back-to-back games...

"It's a challenge that we set the players quite often. If we lose, we make a conscious effort to try not to lose the next one.

"For us to get however far in we are in terms of league and cup games at the moment, to have not lost two in a row is an achievement, but it is only an achievement if we continue that and get something at the end of the season."

 

Barker on Lincoln City, the earlier meeting in the season and them taking scalps of teams at the top...

"We were at the game last Tuesday night, myself, Matt Hamshaw and Warney at Sunderland.

"Lincoln deserved the win. Sunderland had a man sent off after 55/60 minutes I think it was and Lincoln handled the pressure of playing in front of 30,000 people at the Stadium of Light very well.

"You know what you're going to get from them - they are extremely comfortable in possession and they will try and play.

"We had a real good game against them when we played them away. We could have nicked it but couldn't quite finish it off."

 


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