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Barker urges fans to back Coke
BURY manager Richie Barker has appealed to fans not turn against Giles Coke after his amazing bust-up with captain Steven Schumacher during Saturday’s 3-2 win at home to Yeovil.
The pair were booked after a row over who should take a penalty threatened to get out of hand.
Efe Sodje had to separate them, before Schumacher regained his composure to slot home what turned out to be the winner.
A section of the home support then booed Coke’s every touch of the ball.
Barker is now concerned that, without total unity between players and fans, his side will come a cropper in the tough games coming up at Rochdale on Saturday and League One leaders Charlton next Tuesday.
“I can see where the fans were coming from, but that’s the last thing we need and the last thing Cokey needs,” said Barker.
“Yes, it’s disappointing, but we need Cokey. He’s a good player.
“I don’t think he was himself in the second half and I do think that maybe it got to him a little bit.”
Coke has used Twitter to voice his apology to his manager, team-mates and captain. He told followers he was very upset, angry about his actions and explained that he was very passionate, hates losing and just “lost his head”. His tweets added that he was 100 per cent committed to Bury.
In an official statement, he said: “I have apologised privately to the team, the captain, the manager and finally to the Bury supporters via this statement.
“All I could think of was getting the ball on the spot and making it 3-1. I make no apology for wanting to win, however, I am also a professional footballer and fully appreciate the need to respect the captain and manager, even when emotions are running high.”
Barker dropped Mark Carrington – despite recent impressive displays in the holding midfield role – to make room for Coke following his return from Sheffield Wednesday for his second loan spell of the season.
“I don’t see three more technically gifted players playing in a midfield together in this division,” said Barker.
“Mark’s great at what he does, but as a three, you only have to look at the penalty kick, which came from a great pass from (Peter) Sweeney and a great run from Coke, and Schuey scored it. Not bad are they?”
It remains to be seen whether the rift between Coke and the Bury captain can be healed before Saturday’s match against Rochdale at Spotland.
There’s no doubt Barker would like them to continue together, but he won’t tolerate a repeat of Coke’s open defiance of his captain.
“At the end of the day, what Steven Schumacher says goes,” said Barker.
“He’s my captain, I picked him, that’s why he wears the armband. He’s my eyes and ears and gives instructions on the pitch.
“Also, I used to be a penalty taker and the last thing I would have wanted to do before I took one was to have to wrestle the ball out of somebody’s hands.
“We will move on, but it’s disappointing.”
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