The Football League Paper - - INSIDE - By Luke Baker

BAR­NET striker John Akinde ad­mits he’s shocked at man­ager Martin Allen’s de­par­ture for Eastleigh last week.

For Allen to leave Bar­net is noth­ing new – his two-and-ahalf year spell was his fourth as man­ager of the club – but the cir­cum­stances were more head-scratch­ing.

The Bees are in play-off con­tention in League Two, just a point out­side the top seven be­fore the week­end, whereas Eastleigh, while un­doubt­edly an am­bi­tious club, are dis­tinctly mid-ta­ble in the Na­tional League.

Bar­net chair­man Tony Klean­t­hous says the Spit­fires’ ap­proach for Allen came out of the blue and, while Akinde echoes that, he in­sists the play­ers have just tried to ac­cept it as best they can.


“Every­one was shocked when Martin left – it came quite sud­denly,” ad­mit­ted Akinde. “We’ve just got to be pro­fes­sional and get on with the job at hand, which is win­ning games.

“There wasn’t re­ally any in­di­ca­tion he was go­ing. I cer­tainly didn’t ex­pect it and it came out of the blue.

“We’re do­ing well. It was def­i­nitely a surprise, but it’s part of the game and all we can do as play­ers is to just get on with our job.”

A lit­tle more than a week be­fore Allen be­came their man­ager, Eastleigh demon­strated their deep pock­ets by sur­pris­ingly sign­ing de­fender Bondz N’Gala from Bar­net.

With Allen now in place, there is a line of thought that Akinde him­self could also be lured to Hamp­shire, but his 15 goals by the start of De­cem­ber have seen the pow­er­house for­ward linked with a move up, not down, the foot­ball pyra­mid in Jan­uary.

The 27-year-old had a largely un­suc­cess­ful spell in the Cham­pi­onship with Bris­tol City from 2008-2011 and, al­though he is ig­nor­ing any trans­fer spec­u­la­tion, he’s in no doubt he could now flour­ish in the di­vi­sions above.

“I def­i­nitely be­lieve I could score at a higher level,” added Akinde. “I didn’t feel like I was out of place when I played for Bris­tol City. I’ve been there, so I know what it’s about.

“I be­lieve in my abil­ity. I back my­self to do it in this league, the league above and the league above that.

“As soon as the op­por­tu­nity arises, you’ve got to show what you can do.

“I don’t pay any at­ten­tion (to be­ing linked with a trans­fer). I’ve had a lot of ques­tions about Jan­uary and next sea­son, but I’m just fo­cused on what I need to be do­ing, which is scor­ing goals. What will hap­pen will hap­pen.

“I’ll leave all the spec­u­la­tion to you guys in the me­dia and just see where my ca­reer takes me.”

As the Bar­net play­ers wait for a new boss to ride into town, they are fo­cused on con­tin­u­ing the club’s pro­mo­tion push, with devel­op­ment team coach Rossi Eames in tem­po­rary charge.

The Bees have spent just one sea­son in their his­tory in the third tier of English foot­ball – when they fin­ished bot­tom of the old Divi­sion Two in 1993-94 – and Akinde ad­mits it would be spe­cial to help the club to a pro­mo­tion just two years af­ter com­ing up from Non-League foot­ball.

“I don’t know about the club, but per­son­ally I want us to keep push­ing on,” ex­plained Akinde.

“Bar­net have never re­ally been in League One, so it would be a great achieve­ment for them, as well as my­self, to get an­other pro­mo­tion.

“We’ve played well this sea­son, we haven’t lost too many games, but we need to turn some of the draws into wins and keep be­ing solid.”

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Im­ages

HIT­MAN: Bar­net’s John Akinde is win­ning new ad­mir­ers af­ter scor­ing 15 goals

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