MARK Cooper has admitted that Swindon Town are taking a risk in signing the relatively untried George Barker from Brighton.
Barker, 22, has penned an 18-month contract at the County Ground after joining for an undisclosed fee from the Seagulls on Tuesday.
A product of the Brighton youth development system, the striker has yet to score a professional goal but has a big fan in Swindon assistant coach Luke Williams, who worked with Barker for a year at the Sussex club.
Cooper confirmed that Williams’ input into the deal was significant, saying his number two “swears by” his latest acquisition.
“He fits into our bracket of what we’re trying to do. He’s one that nobody else would probably look at but he’s technically very good,” the Town manager told the Advertiser.
“He’s young, he is an intelligent footballer and he’s another one we’re going to try to develop and teach him how to play.
“Obviously Luke worked with him at Brighton for a year and he swears by him so that’s good enough for me. We’re taking a punt on the boy and having seen him play (at Birmingham), with the way that we play which is totally different, he fits into it.”
Barker made the perfect start to life in a red shirt by scoring in Swindon’s 3-2 defeat to Birmingham City in a development XI fixture on Tuesday and, though he was deployed in an unfamiliar central striker’s role, he still impressed Cooper.
The Robins boss said: “We asked him to play in the central role with a lack of central strikers, which is not his preferred role as he’s probably better off coming from wide in a front three or playing alongside a target man. He got hold of the ball and he did fine.”
Yaser Kasim scored Town’s other goal of game which Cooper considered a worthwhile exercise.
He said: “We got beat in the end but it was a good workout. We played very well in the first half when it was two strong teams.”