Barker's future at Stadium MK is out of his hands

Richie Barker
Richie Barker
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Caretaker boss Richie Barker expects to leave MK Dons when chairman Pete Winkelman brings in a new manager.

Barker was assistant to Karl Robinson, who left the club eight days ago, and took charge of the 2-1 defeat to Sheffield United at Bramall Lane on Saturday.

No stranger to management after spells at Bury, Crawley Town and Portsmouth, Barker ruled himself out of the race for the Stadium MK hot seat last week.

However, despite admitting he would like to remain with Dons, Barker said the decision is out of his hands.

"I think it would be great to stay at the club in some capacity," he said. "But I think that decision will be made by the board or the new manager.

"I've had a fantastic time at the club with a great group. I can't ask more from the players.

"The club is where it is at the moment and the buck stops with the two people who work with the players daily. But we all know you can only do so much.

"I can walk away from here, I've enjoyed it, I've worked as hard as I can, I've learned loads and if it means leaving, hopefully it will lead to something else."

Former Dons midfielder Paul Mitchell, currently serving his notice as Head of Recruitment at Tottenham, has emerged as favourite to take over the top job at his former club, while Steve Cotterill, Ryan Giggs and Mark Sampson are reportedly among the front runners.

Barker, who joined the club in April 2014, believes whoever takes over will be inheriting a team more than capable, even sitting 20th in League 1 at the moment, of fighting for a play-off spot come the end of the season.

He said: "This is as great club that is in a fantastic place, despite where we are in the league. I'm sure someone will come in and take it to where it needs to be.

"The side is technically very good, with a good understanding of the game. A great group of players who are friends and have a real desire to work hard. But at the moment, they're not getting the rub of the green and a little bit mentally fragile, which is understandable. But I have no doubt this team will be pushing at the top end before the season finishes.

"It's just the small details at the moment, the final cross or the last piece of defending - just that extra little bit.

"The ambition should still to be in the play-offs come the end of the season. It's not impossible. This team is more than capable of winning five in a row or going 10 unbeaten.

"There is enough time left. In a league were everybody beats everybody, there will be no clear top five or six. This team should be aiming to be in the play-offs, minimum."