AKINDE: THE BEES CAN KEEP BUZZING
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.”
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