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Barnet: Opposition view

Get the inside track on Saturday's visitors

23 July 2020

Will Evans, co-commentator for iBarnet, gives us the lowdown on our play-off opponents.

What is your overall verdict on what Bees manager Darren Currie has achieved since taking over last season?

His biggest achievement has been taking a squad that was under-performing under previous manager John Still and mould them into a team in his own image, adopting a passing style which better suited the players he had at his disposal and was exciting to watch.

There was a spell when the club dropped to mid-table so he altered the formation and went to three at the back, which stopped the rot and then turned things around.

Did you expect to be fighting for promotion this season?

Yes. I think that with the budget available Barnet should be aiming for promotion. They had been an established EFL club and the feeling within both the club and the supporters is that they need to get back there as quickly as possible.

How has the club and the playing squad reacted after coming back from lockdown caused by coronavirus?

The reaction's been good. A lot of players are out of contract at the end of this season and this is a chance for them to put themselves in the shop window. I spoke with goalkeeper Scott Loach and he was very enthusiastic about getting back to training and playing, should the play-offs get the go-ahead.

I've heard there is a real desire in the squad to achieve something as a unit, so there is clearly a really good spirit among the players and management.

For various reasons, several players were missing at Yeovil last weekend. Will any of them return this weekend?

I'm not clear on this as we weren't aware until just before the Yeovil game that three players were out through injury. However, the problems were only muscle strains, so some of them could be fit to play against Notts.

Whatever happens, it will not have too much of an impact on the team as if any of the injured players are fit to come back in it would be on a like-for-like basis, the system won’t change.

Who will be the key men for Barnet?

In attack, Josh Walker is a tricky player, quick and good on the ball, while alongside him Paul McCallum is a typical centre forward, a poacher who has a good reputation in the game. Both can cause problems for opposition defences.

At the back, Ricardo Santos has had his injury problems but he was outstanding against Yeovil and should really be playing at a higher level, while alongside him Harry Taylor was also excellent last weekend, so they will play a big part.

There will be no fans at the game. Is that a bonus for Barnet as the away team?

Everyone knows Notts County are the best supported team in the National League and I'm sure Meadow Lane would have been packed for this game. I think that with Barnet having to play two games away from home in the play-offs, having no fans in the ground is probably to their advantage.

Can you sum up just what an achievement it would be for Barnet if they were to regain their League Two status by winning the play-offs?

While it is not essential for Barnet to go up this season, it would be highly preferable. They are at the end of their parachute payments after dropping out of the EFL and with a successful academy and planned stadium development, everything about the club is suited for League Two, and the money which goes with that. They need to get back but if it takes another season that would not be a disaster.


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