Barker will stay as long as the chairman needs him to

Caretaker manager Richie Barker said he would remain in charge of MK Dons for as long as chairman Pete Winkelman needs him to.

Tuesday, 8th November 2016, 9:41 pm
Updated Wednesday, 16th November 2016, 4:38 pm
Richie Barker looks set to remain in charge this weekend against Walsall

As the search to replace Karl Robinson nears a third week, Barker will lead the preparations for the League 1 clash at Stadium MK on Thursday - his fourth match since the departure of Karl Robinson.

But while his future is still being dealt with on a game-by-game basis, Barker insists it is better for the long term future of the club to find the right man to take charge.

He said: "It's not a concern for me - it's important the club make the right decision and if it takes a bit longer, then so be it. They'll probably want the right manager who will be in charge for as long as Karl was. A few weeks won't seem that long if he's here for six years.

"I can go as far as saying I'll be preparing the team on Thursday morning. I'll continue that on Friday, and if someone comes in I'll stop. Otherwise I'll take the team on Saturday as well."

On staying at the club, Barker added: "You'd have to ask (the chairman), I'm just doing the best I can for the long term of the club.

"I'm always in contact with the chairman, but he's telling me how long he needs me, and that won't change. I said to him on the day Karl left, if it's a day, a week or a month I'll get on with it. I didn't think it would be a day, or a month, but we're halfway there now!"

Barker's third match in charge was the dead rubber with Norwich U21s in the Checkatrade Trophy. The Canaries ran out 4-1 winners on the night, but with Dons naming 15 academy products in the 23, Barker said there were more positives than negatives from the result.

"There was still something to play for because we wanted to win the group," he said. "We also wanted to give experience to some youngsters. But they knew the game was important in that sense. And I thought there were more positives than negatives, and what a fantastic experience for them.

"When I first saw their team it didn't fill me with a huge deal of enthusiasm, with international players in there, but if they're going to make it in the game, these young players will have to play against players like these and a team that will go a long way in this tournament.

"The result says we conceded four goals, and all four were avoidable. We stuck to the game plan and the task. We finished with 10 academy graduates on the pitch, two making their debut, and of course Finn Tapp scoring."

The 16-year-old, who turns 17 on Wednesday, poked home barely 10 minutes after coming on to make his first appearance for the club, and Barker says it will be a moment that lives with him forever.

He added: "You can't take that away from Finn, no matter what you think of the game or the tournament. He scored a goal in the first team. He still has a long way to go, as they all do, but that's his and he's done extremely well.

"I'll keep bringing the young players through. Whether it's me or someone else next week, hopefully, these players will remember who gave them their debut!"