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Swinging The Axe
Who Will Barker be booting out next month?
Richie Barker hasn't been at Portsmouth long but he has already made his presence felt at the club with assistant manager Steve Allen set to depart for Bristol City so he can be replaced with the assistant he had at Crawley Town.
The new manager has come out and told his players that they have the next four games to show him that they have the commitment and the ability to play for this football club and those that don't could be shown the door next month.
So, who could be getting axed come January?
Joe Devera has had a lot of stick from Pompey fans recently having arrived from Swindon with a good reputation. One article in the local news claimed that Pompey had signed the best player in the division but he has failed to live up to anywhere near the expectations of him.
A large number of the goals Pompey have conceded this season have been down to Devera's errors. When the ball reaches him he either heads it straight back to the opposition or aimlessly hoofs it upfield to nobody. His marking is poor and commitment questionable at times.
Some fans have dubbed him the worst defender to ever play for Portsmouth Football Club and given the competition there is for that particular accolade that is really saying something! Unless there is a huge improvement in what remains of this month Devera will surely be put up for sale and nobody associated with Pompey will miss him.
Yassin Moutaouakil is another player in the firing line because he has been such a liability this season. Some thought he was lucky to be given a permanent contract after some mediocre performances last season and they are probably right.
He may get forward well and can supply a good cross now and again but his defending is atrocious, his positional sense dreadful and he may well be the worst passer of a football that I have ever seen at Pompey. He is the most likely played to be binned next month and again, I don't think anyone will miss him even if he does have a name that makes him sound like a poor man's assassin.
Those of you who read this site regularly will know that I'm not a fan of Ryan Bird. He may have scored a few goals but he they've all been simple and/or fortunate. Apart from that, he doesn't really offer anything else to his game apart from work ethic, which may not be enough to save him from the axe.
Speaking of those whose work ethic may not be enough to save them from the chop, that brings us to club captain Johnny Ertl. One thing he has going for him is that he clearly wants to play for Portsmouth and it can't be denied that he is a very popular figure off the pitch.
However, playing for Pompey shouldn't be down to how popular you are with the fans and the fact that Barker dropped him from the side for his first game may speak volumes. He has been criticised by many for being too slow and clumsy and the midfield play at a higher tempo when he's not in the team so he could be another that Barker will want to get rid of come January.
Marcos Painter's contract is up in the middle of January and it's difficult to see him staying at Pompey due to his injury problems and other fringe players such as Romain Padovani, Tom Craddock, Ashley Harris and Phil Smith cannot be considered "safe" by any means.
Of course, there may not be the scope for the new manager to dump so many players due to the length of their contracts and the small size of his squad but he should be able to bring in some fresh faces of his own and movement in January will be guaranteed.
There will be plenty of Pompey players playing for their futures beyond Christmas and they're all going to have to buck their ideas up or else they may all be binned!
Source: Fratton Faithful
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