Barker issues reality check

5:00pm Thursday 16th February 2012

By Nick Jackson

SHAKERS manager Richie Barker has appealed for the Gigg Lane fans to get behind his team after hearing rumblings of discontent during Tuesday’s 1-1 draw with Chesterfield.

After the match, Barker acknowledged his side needed to up their game after trailing to former Bury forward Nicky Ajose’s 42nd-minute strike and bemoaned a lack of energy in the first half.

Captain Steven Schumacher’s 89th minute header grabbed a face-saving draw after numerous chances had been spurned.

But the club’s 36-year-old boss was disturbed not only by the booing at half time, but other comments from the stands, some of which criticised his tactics.

Barker, preparing for Saturday’s trip to Exeter, pointed out that Bury’s current haul of 39 points from 29 games was only 11 short of his 50-point survival target.

“I can understand people’s disappointment,” he said. “But sometimes they just need to get behind us. I’m not here to whinge and moan, but we are all in this together.

“It might take until the 89th minute to score. We have not got a God given right to beat everyone who turns up here to play.

“I think it was round about this time last year we played Chesterfield and were 17 points adrift of them in League Two. Now they are 15 points behind us in League One, which shows how far we’ve come. We need a bit of a sense of reality.”

Barker has also found himself defending his formation which revolves around the use of a lone striker in a fluid 4-3-3 system.

“It came up at a fans’ forum I attended recently,” the manager said. “I can’t see why it’s such an issue because – at the time – we had 31 points from 19 games, playing that system.

“That means we were averaging one and a half points per match, which over a season would see us finish on 69 points – about three points off the play offs.

“Does anyone want to whinge about that? I certainly don’t. Having said all that, I’ll just keep taking it (the criticism) on the chin until we’re eight points above Charlton at the top of the league, and I can imagine people will still keep going on about it.”

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