Portsmouth: Richie Barker & Steve Coppell take charge

By Nabil HassanBBC South Sport
Richie Barker

Portsmouth have appointed Richie Barker as their new manager, with Steve Coppell also arriving at the club in a director of football role.

The League Two club sacked previous boss Guy Whittingham on 25 November.

Barker and Coppell filled the same roles at Crawley Town, until the former was relieved of his job two days after Whittingham's dismissal by Pompey.

"It's a fantastic club, you only have to look around to see the history and potential," Barker told BBC Sport.

"I'm extremely proud and extremely grateful and flattered to have the opportunity.

"The short-term goal is to get into the top half of League Two and eventually out of the division - in the right way. Long term who knows? There is no glass ceiling and if this place gets rolling it can keep going.

"Steve is a fantastic mentor and I have a lot of respect for him. He acknowledges I am the manager and he will not do anything to undermine that."

The 38-year-old began his managerial career at Bury in April 2011 and steered them to promotion from League Two.

Barker, who has signed a standard rolling contract with Pompey, then spent 18 months at Crawley, leading them to a 10th-place finish in League One last season before his dismissal last month.

The ex-Sheffield Wednesday, Brighton, Macclesfield, Rotherham, Mansfield and Hartlepool striker beat off stiff competition for the Portsmouth job from a shortlist that also included Oxford United manager Chris Wilder and Exeter City boss Paul Tisdale.

"The fan expectation is part of the reason I came," added Barker. "The fans want to be in the top two divisions and that expectation should drive everyone on.

"I think it's realistic, it's not a burden. It'll be tough to handle but I want to fulfil those expectations."

Former Manchester United and England winger Coppell, whose own managerial career took him to Crystal Palace, Manchester City, Brentford, Brighton, Reading and Bristol City, is also relishing a new challenge at Fratton Park.

"I'm very excited," the 58-year-old said. "Richie asked if I'd like to be involved and I jumped at the opportunity."

Barker's first game in charge of Pompey, who sit 17th in League Two, will be against Newport County at Fratton Park.

They have lost five of their last seven matches and have not won since 2 November.

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