Baldock praises 'different class' Richie Barker

George Baldock
George Baldock

He may have read the players the riot act at half time during Dons' 2-1 win over Coventry City, but George Baldock was full of praise for caretaker manager Richie Barker.

The 41-year-old may be on his way out of the club after lifting Dons out of the League 1 relegation zone, with a reunion with Karl Robinson at Charlton Athletic on the cards.

Having overseen seven Dons matches since Robinson's departure 34 days ago, Barker says he doesn't know where he'll be when Dons take on the Addicks in the FA Cup next weekend.

And Baldock feels Barker has been a huge influence on the Dons dressing room, ranking him up there as one of the best.

"I don't have enough good words to say about him," said Baldock. "I rate him up there with John Gorman, and that's one of the biggest compliments I could pay him.

"He has been absolutely different class. I've loved working with him and I'm sure wherever he goes, he'll be a success. It wouldn't surprise me if he went on to be an extremely successful manager again."

If it is to be his final game in charge, Barker leaves Dons in 19th in the table after leading his side to becoming only the second side to win at the Ricoh Arena this season.

Ed Upson goals either side of a Ben Stevenson wonder-goal and then second half sending off ensured Dons made the short journey home with all three points. But it came after a strong word from Barker at half time, who was far from impressed with Dons' performance in the opening 45 minutes.

Baldock said: There were too many chances in the first half. Richie, to put it lightly, put it to us that way at half time... a few bottles went everywhere. But it geed the boys up and hopefully we can build on this now.

"We've been brilliantly away from home - I think it's our fifth win away, and that should put us right up there. If only we could replicate it at home we'd be right back up there in the mix.

"Richie took the shackles off (Ed Upson), he likes getting forward, and it gave him licence to go forward. Fair play to him, he's been very good in recent weeks.

"But having Darren Potter was massive - the protection he gives the back four is huge. You can't ask for more from such an experienced player."