‘Make it impossible to drop you’ - Barker tells Crawley strikers

Emile Sinclair celebrates his winning goal against Bradford with Jamie Proctor and Nicky Adams
Emile Sinclair celebrates his winning goal against Bradford with Jamie Proctor and Nicky Adams

Richie Barker has laid down the gauntlet for one of his strikers to go on a scoring spree to make it impossible to leave them out of the side.

The Reds boss has chopped and changed his three out and out strikers Jamie Proctor, Gary Alexander and Emile Sinclair so far this season, largely favouring a 4-2-3-1 formation with one lone frontman.

Alexander has three goals in six starts, Proctor two in nine and Sinclair three in five since his move from Peterborough and Barker hinted that he still wasn’t sure of his best option to lead the line.

He said: “Emile has scored in three different games, Jamie’s scored in a couple and Gaz scored two in the Peterborough game. But yeah it would be nice for one of them to go on a scoring run of three or four games in a row.”

Alexander got the nod on Saturday with Sinclair and Proctor playing the previous two games, and pointing to last season, where the goals were largely shared around the team Barker added: “I don’t like particularly relying on one or two people and you look at some teams and say that player is so influential to the way they play, what would they do if he wasn’t playing?

“I don’t want to go down that route but certainly it would be nice if someone nailed their colours to the mast and said ‘you can’t rest me’.”

Goals would be very welcome this weekend at home to Brentford with Reds failing to hit the target in two straight League One defeats - that after scoring in their last 17 games prior to the Port Vale defeat.

“A week ago we were talking about being one of only three teams to have scored a goal in every game and a week later everybody thinks the whole world is coming to a standstill because we’ve gone two games without a goal,” Barker said.

“We’ve done some different things in training in the last few days in terms of changing mind sets but we won’t be changing anything else.”

Attacker Billy Clarke (knee) is definitely ruled out of Saturday but everyone else should be fit to take on a hotly tipped Bees side who have won three on the trot and sit fifth in the table.

Barker described Saturday’s opponents as ‘virtually a Championship side’ with Uwe Rosler adding real quality to team that came agonisingly close to promotion twice at the end of last season, and he expects a tough test against a side he fully expects to make the top six again come May.

New loan signing Kyle Bennett showed flashes of his quality during Saturday’s defeat at Stevenage and could again start. The winger is on loan from Doncaster for a month, and though their is the option to extend that until January, Barker said that would be “at the minute very slim”, adding: “I don’t know if we’d have the finances to do it.”

Barker admitted the arrival of Bennett made fellow loanee Luke Rooney’s chances of breaking into the team even tougher, though he said the reason for leaving the Swindon midfielder out of last Saturday’s squad was because he wanted two defenders on the bench with Kyle McFadzean still recovering from illness.

He also feels midfielder Mike Jones has “reinvented himself as one of our best players” since moving into a central midfield role this season.

Crawley against Brentford this Saturday kicks off at 3pm at the Checkatrade.com Stadium.

Which of Crawley’s three strikers Gary Alexander, Emile Sinclair or Jamie Proctor would you have leading the attack? Log in to comment below or tweet me: @WSCT_Steve