Barker fears for Layer Road squad
CHRIS Barker may have played his last game for Colchester United, but he sincerely hopes that the team of last season does not “fall apart.”Left-back Barker enjoyed a season-long loan at Layer Road, helping the U's to an excellent 10th in the Championship.
By Carl Marston
CHRIS Barker may have played his last game for Colchester United, but he sincerely hopes that the team of last season does not “fall apart.”
Left-back Barker enjoyed a season-long loan at Layer Road, helping the U's to an excellent 10th in the Championship.
His parent club Cardiff City released him from his contract this summer, and the 27-year-old was quickly inundated with offers from other clubs, eventually agreeing to sign for QPR on Tuesday.
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“I'd love to have come back to Colchester, but it wasn't to be,” insisted Barker. “I had a really enjoyable eight months there, but it just didn't happen long-term.
“I suppose the best chance of me signing for Colchester would have been in January. I wanted to make the move permanent, but in the end it was only my loan that was extended.
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“I wish Colchester all the best and I hope that they have another good season. I don't want the current team to just fall apart.
“Chris (Iwelumo) leaving to go to Charlton wasn't a big surprise, because his contract was up, but I'm very surprised to hear that Jamie (Cureton) has requested a transfer.
“It would be a shame if too many of them left,” added Barker.
Sheffield-born Barker started his professional career in his native Yorkshire, with Barnsley. The tough-tackling defender made 130 appearances for the Tykes before moving to Cardiff for a £600,000 fee during the summer of 2002.
After four good seasons at Ninian Park, and 180 games under his belt, he fell out of favour at the start of last term and ended up on loan at Colchester in mid-August.
Barker went on to make the left-back berth his own. He only missed a handful of games, although he will miss the first three fixtures of next season for QPR after being sent off at Stoke in the penultimate weekend of last season.
“I owe a lot to Colchester, particularly George (Geraint Williams) and Mick (Harford),” admitted Barker.
“Colchester gave me the chance to get my career back on track. They were a great set of lads, and George and Mick were tremendous for me.
“I'd like to have gone back and repaid some of those people, but sometimes you have to move on.
“It was a difficult choice, because a few clubs were interested in me.
“I'm just glad that my future has been decided early.
“As a footballer, I want to play at the highest level, and I believe that QPR has the potential to match my career goals.
“I am very optimistic for the season ahead,” added Barker.
U's fans, for the moment at least, could be forgiven for not sharing Barker's optimism for next season.
Iwelumo's departure to Charlton on a three-year deal, added to Cureton's transfer request (turned down by the club) and Barker's switch, has left the squad looking very vulnerable.
Richard Garcia is also out of contract and considering his options back in his native Australia, so the next few weeks should be very interesting as U's boss Williams searches for some new blood.