Barker still hopeful of loan signing

Dannie Bulman scored a fine winner in the same fixture last season. Below Nicky Adams in the 1-1 draw with Stevenage at Crawley

Dannie Bulman scored a fine winner in the same fixture last season. Below Nicky Adams in the 1-1 draw with Stevenage at Crawley

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Reds boss Richie Barker hasn’t given up on bringing in a player he has targeted for loan despite negotiations between clubs dragging on for two weeks now.

Crawley were close to securing a short-term deal for the unnamed player only for it to appear to fall through.

Crawley Town V Stevenage Borough 29-3-13 (Pic by Jon Rigby)

Crawley Town V Stevenage Borough 29-3-13 (Pic by Jon Rigby)

But the move could now be back on, with the slim possibility of happening ahead on Saturday’s trip to Stevenage.

Barker said: “Unfortunately the manager in question, as is his prerogative changed his mind at that particular time.

“I’ve since heard he may have changed it back again so it’s something I’m working on. Possibly for Saturday but it’s one of those things that can change by the hour.”

With a squad of only 19 senior players to choose from - one of the smallest in League 1 - the Reds boss is desperate to add at least one new face before the transfer window reopens in January.

“We’ve got a busy time coming up and I think we play four games over Christmas, and we ain’t going to get through the Christmas period with the squad we’ve got now,” Barker said. “If this one doesn’t quite work out I’ll have to start looking elsewhere.”

Billy Clarke has been back in training this week and could return to the squad for Saturday’s trip to Broadhall Way after missing the last three matches with a knee problem. Defender Kyle McFadzean is the only other doubt after coming off at half-time on Tuesday complaining of feeling unwell.

The 3-0 mid-week home defeat to Port Vale was a result Barker admits he ‘didn’t see coming’, but he insists neither he nor his players will be dwelling on a first defeat in eight league games.

Still the weekend’s game against an improved Boro side is a good chance to get back to winning ways and Barker said: “It’s always nice to get back on the horse as quick as possible.

“I think there was only once last year we had back-to-back defeats. I dare say that’s going to be a tough record to follow this year... But we won’t be setting out to not get beat, we’ll be setting out to go and win the game.”

Graham Westley’s side are 20th in League 1 but are on an improved run of form, winning three of their last four games including a 3-0 victory away at Crewe in the week, so Barker is expecting another tough test against organised and physical opponents.

Dannie Bulman scored a stunning winner for Crawley in the same fixture last season against his former club and the 34-year-old midfielder has become a key component in Barker’s side.

Confirming that conversations over a new contract were likely to take place over Christmas with Bulman’s current deal expiring at the end of the season, Barker said: “I always knew what Dannie could do, but we’ve evolved as a team, as a football club over the last 16 months since I came in.

“I think his job is different to what his previous job was. I think he’s evolved as a player, I think he’s found something that is suitable to us and suitable to him in terms of the way he plays which will I’m sure make him a better player and prolong his career as well.”