MORE REPORTS AND REACTION
Deal or no deal Richie
hartlepoolmail.co.uk, 02 January 2007
DANNY Wilson today posed the question to Richie Barker and Mansfield Town: Deal or no deal.
The Hartlepool United boss's record-breaking side made it nine wins and eight clean sheets on the trot with yesterday's hard-fought 1-0 victory over the Stags and Wilson now hopes to also prise away their top scorer.
Barker played against Pools but appeared to make his farewells to the home supporters at the end, although he later insisted nothing was to be read into his actions.
Pools have lodged a bid for the 15-goal hitman, believed to be around £80,000, which is thought to have been accepted by Stags chairman Peter Lee.
While Lee apparently wants to sell, Barker has yet to commit to the move and new Mansfield manager Billy Dearden is also keen to keep hold of his prize asset, complicating the move at that end.
Wilson in the meantime insists it is make your mind up time.
"We have made our bid and it has been accepted but we will now have to wait and see," Wilson said.
"It is in their hands (Barker and Mansfield), it has been for a while now.
"They won't get any more from us so we will have to see if they will let him go. We can't force them to sell.
"We saw yesterday why we like him because he is a terrific targetman but we will have to see what develops in the next few weeks."
Barker admitted his future is shrouded in mystery.
"I have heard nothing, although that could change quickly," he said. "I have only read what is in the papers.
"Unless I'm told anything differently then I am a Mansfield player, but I think with the way things are, if I am being truthful, there is a chance that something might happen."
While the Barker deal hangs in the balance, Wilson is confident he can snap up Swindon star Andy Monkhouse on a permanent contract.
The winger – who grabbed the winner at Mansfield – is due to return to his parent club today after starring during Pools record-breaking run.
But fellow loan star Darryl Duffy is likely to return to Hull and face a bidding war for his services.
"There is a decent chance of getting Andy, we are looking at a permanent deal," Wilson admitted.
"I would think Hull will take Darryl back and we have to bear in mind there will be other clubs looking at him.
"We have to say that is fair enough because from Darryl's point of view, he has loved it here and we have loved having him, but he has to get the best possible club available to him.
"You can't blame him for that."
POOLS ON CLOUD NINE
hartlepoolmail.co.uk, 02 January 2007
HARTLEPOOL United ripped up the record books for the second time in two days with a 1-0 victory at Mansfield today.
Andy Monkhouse grabbed the crucial goal on 75 miutes when he bundled home the rebound from a missed Jon Daly penalty to give Pools their NINTH consecutive league win - a new record.
And with the clean sheet, incredibly their eighth in a row, Pools have another first.
Pools were perhaps fortunate to be level in the first period with the host going close on several occasions.
Stags attacker Michael Boulding dragged wide when through on goal and Richie Barker fired a free header at keeper Dimi Konstantopoulos.
The Greek stopper had to make a brilliant reacton save at his near post after a low cross had came off his own defender Tony Sweeney.
After the break things were more even and Darryl Duffy went close with a volley moments before Pools were awarded a spot kick.
The decision came after substitute Daly was brought down in the box by Giles Coke, although home fans were left fuming as they believed he had taken the ball.
Daly stepped up and saw his tame effort kept out by keeper Jason White but Duffy reacted quickest and the ball deflected again, with Monkhouse on hand to nod over the line.
The final stages were nervy but Pools held on to send the 682-strong travelling support home happy.
Ful-time Mansfield 0-1 Pools
STAGS V HARTLEPOOL: SPURNED BY LADY LUCK
Evening Post, 02 January 2007
Actions can speak louder than words - as they did on the Field Mill stairs yesterday.
In his post-game interviews, Hartlepool boss Danny Wilson played down the speculation over Mansfield striker Richard Barker, who he targeted in November.
With the transfer window now open, the North-east side are expected to come in with a renewed offer for Mansfield's top scorer.
But Wilson said very little on the matter, preferring to concentrate on his side's achievement of extending their club record winning streak to nine matches.
Not ten minutes later, though, the Pools manager passed Barker on the steps that lead up to the press box - and took the opportunity to shake him firmly by the hand.
It was by no means a signal that Barker is already on his way to Victoria Park. There are, after all, other suitors out there.
But the gesture left no doubt that Wilson would love to see the Stags man in the white and blue of Hartlepool, whatever he says publicly.
The former Barnsley man will hope that the next time he shakes hands with the striker will be when he is signing transfer forms and whether that happens is likely to become clearer over the next week or so.
With Mansfield without a game on Saturday, the club will have almost two weeks to sort out Barker's future.
And with his departure now seeming increasingly likely, he could well have played his last game for the Stags against, ironically, potential future employers.
The conjecture over Barker largely overshadowed the return of Billy Dearden for his first completed game in his second spell as Mansfield boss - and his first on home soil.
After Saturday's abandonment at Accrington, the new manager was looking to get off to a flying start against the undisputed form team of League Two.
In spells he saw some good football from his side in what were tricky conditions, especially when the rain began to teem down at the start of the second half.
He will also have spotted things he needs to address after a third defeat in four outings at home in the league saw the Stags sink to 20th in the table.
For a start Mansfield need to find their shooting boots.
They had the better of the chances and did get a substantial number of shots on target.
However, of those, most were straight at Dimi Konstantopoulos and easily saved, with the aforementioned Barker among the culprits.
There were other opportunities when Mansfield failed to even work the Pools keeper, the most glaring of those being Michael Boulding just before the half-hour mark.
He raced clear through the inside left channel but screwed his shot wide of goal when he should have forced a save at the very least.
Mansfield would not mind Lady Luck smiling on them a little more either.
They seemed unlucky to concede the penalty that led to the winning goal in the first place as Giles Coke appeared to get some of the ball in tackling Jon Daly.
But referee Ray Lee pointed straight to the spot - much to Mansfield's frustration.
More misfortune came the Stags' way from the spot kick as Jason White saved well from Daly, and blocked Darryl Duffy's follow-up too.
The ball could have ricocheted anywhere, only to fly straight onto the head of Andy Monkhouse, who gratefully accepted the belated Christmas gift.
Dearden said he was disappointed his defenders did not react and he certainly had a point. But on another day the ball would have flown into the stands after White's save. Things just aren't going Mansfield's way at the moment.
Before that 75th minute breakthrough, there was little to suggest that either side was going to take the three points.
The visitors were limited to just two real chances for Monkhouse and Duffy either side of the break and neither of those shots hit the target.
But their stout defence, that has now gone 772 minutes without shipping a goal, meant that it was difficult for the Stags at the other end. After Pools went in front, Mansfield threw on Nathan Arnold down the right and he twice almost crafted a leveller.
But first Barker headed straight at Konstantopoulos and then Simon Brown's back-heel was too close to the big Greek.
At full-time Barker went over and shook hands with some of the home supporters, perhaps anticipating that the game was his final bow.
That would be a bitter blow to begin 2007 for a team who are already struggling to keep themselves out of the League Two drop zone.
Barker's 23 goals last season were vital in keeping Stags out of trouble and, if he goes, questions will be asked as to where they are going to come from.
Let us hope that Dearden already has an eye on a replacement just in case, because taking the best player out of your side leaves a big hole - and one that needs to be filled.
Latest | January 2007