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Wednesday, 23 April 2014

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Gateshead's Whitehaven loanee Danny Barker will not take sides in promotion clash

Whitehaven forward Danny Barker pledged not to cheer on Don Gailer’s men when they aim to secure promotion against Gateshead on Sunday – but revealed his fervent hope they still achieve their season-long dream against Thunder.

Danny Barker photo
Danny Barker

The former Recre scholarship player is at Gateshead on loan and out of respect for the Tyneside outfit will not give his vocal support to Haven in a match where victory will secure a move up to the Championship.

“I won’t be supporting anybody,” said Barker. “Obviously, I want Whitehaven to win but I don’t want to see Gateshead embarrassed by us.

“I’m glad obviously that Whitehaven are in position to get promoted and I won’t be playing in the game. I wouldn’t want to play against my home team. And I don’t know if I would be allowed to play anyway as part of the loan deal.”

The back-row forward is enjoying his stint this season at Thunder, despite the club’s winless run against pro opposition now stretching beyond 50 games.

“I can’t complain, and I’ve been playing most weeks,” he added. “The guys are happy and team morale is good. They always go in looking to win and it’s a good atmosphere.”

Barker yesterday started regular Monday night training sessions with Haven in an effort to break back in to the reckoning, while still working with Thunder later in the week.

“I’m trying to get back in the mix at Whitehaven for the back end of the season,” he continued. “It’s hard for Don to change a settled side. It’s one of those things.

“But sometimes you have to bit the bullet, and I have to prove to him I’m worth giving a shot. I’d like to get a couple of games for Whitehaven before the end of the season.

“Hopefully somewhere down the line they will give me a ring and extend my contract next year in the Championship.

“I’ve been at Whitehaven for seven years and I’m not interested in going to any other club.”

Barker has been joined at Thunder by fellow Haven loanee Shane Ackerley, who has also benefited from extensive first-team experience on Tyneside.

“Shane is fearless and has the heart of a lion,” said Barker. “He’s playing really well and is in the same boat as me. People at Whitehaven are playing well so there’s no reason to drop them.”

Ackerley will also sit out Sunday’s game as a condition of the loan arrangement.

Haven’s Championship One rivals Oldham have sacked coach Tony Benson after Sunday’s 42-16 defeat at Barrow sent them toppling out of the top six for the first time this season.

His assistant Martin Roden will take over as caretaker boss until the end of the season.

Workington Town travel to Oldham on Sunday week.

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