Don't judge me yet, says Reds boss

Richie Barker

Richie Barker

First published in Crawley Town by

Boss Richie Barker has urged Crawley fans not to judge him until he has a proper chance to put his stamp on the team.

Reds go into today’s game at Notts County in fourth position in League One but there have still been a few rumblings of discontent from supporters following a number of unconvincing performances in recent weeks.

Reds were held to a 1-1 draw at home by an Oldham side reduced to ten men after just 20 minutes a fortnight ago and were given a real scare by Met Police in the FA Cup last weekend.

Crawley put in a much improved performance at Coventry in midweek only to go down 3-1 and will be aiming to avoid suffering back-to-back defeats in the league for the first time under Barker at Meadow Lane today.

Barker believes any criticism of his record so far is unfair considering Crawley’s lofty position in the table and the fact he is working with a squad largely inherited from his predecessor Sean O’Driscoll.

Mike Jones and Joe Walsh were the only permanent signings Barker was able to make before the transfer window closes while Nicky Ajose, Jonathan Forte and Nathan Byrne have all been brought in on loan.

Barker said: “I have not brought in anywhere near the amount of players to be able to be judged on my merits yet. It is hard because you get judged by other people’s players.

“I think I have made the best of what I have available to me and I think I have improved that too. Hope Akpan has gone from somebody who was not a regular in League Two to one of the best young midfielders in League One. To do what we have done with the group of players already together is great.

“I have pretty much reinvented the way Crawley play compared to the last two seasons. We have changed the style and I am sure it is more enjoyable to watch. We are also in the highest league position in the club’s history so if people don’t like it perhaps I should go somewhere else.

“I think the fact I have hardly spent any money and we are fourth in League One and won four out of six cup games shows we are doing well and it is frustrating from my point of view when people are still unhappy.”

Crawley have an impressive record of bouncing back from defeats this season and Barker has challenged them to maintain that against Notts County .

Reds have won at Doncaster, Preston and Carlisle following setbacks in their previous league games and will be looking for a similar response after slipping to their first defeat in six matches at the Ricoh Arena.

Barker added: “Good teams don’t lose two games in a row. Every team goes through difficult patches so it is bound to happen at some point but the players have done brilliantly in terms of bouncing back so far and it is something we would like to continue.

“We knew this was going to be an extremely difficult week with two tough away games but if we play like we did against Coventry on a regular basis we will win more games than we lose.”

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