Barnet Football Club caught up with Ricky Holmes for this week’s big interview to talk all things football.
Speaking exclusively to barnetfc.com, the forward talked Edgar Davids, the battle at the bottom, The Hive and much more.
The forward also spoke of his delight after Graham Stack signed a new deal at the club, describing him as the best goalkeeper in League Two.
Edgar Davids seems to have made an immediate impact since taking control of all first-team matters, why do you think this is?
RH: “I think that before he came in we were making a lot of sloppy, individual mistakes that were costing us points. We were not scoring a lot of goals either and we still need to score more but we have all been chipping in from all over the pitch. We look solid as a unit now and I believe that our best performance of the season came against Rotherham United. We pressed them when they had possession and we kept our concentration well. Edgar is a big character and he is very strong minded, our success stems from the organisation he has brought in.”
Who has stood out for you not just over the past month but over the course of the season?
RH: “Jake Hyde is an obvious choice because he is the club’s top scorer but players like Denzel (David Stephens) have been fantastic, he has been an absolute rock at the back. Graham Stack has also been magnificent, he is the best keeper in the league by an absolute mile and players like that have helped us turn draws into wins.”
Stack has just signed a new deal keeping him at the club until 2015, how important a deal is that for the club moving forward?
RH: “It is massive because like I said he is the best keeper in League Two without a shadow of a doubt. He comes with a wealth of knowledge having played at the highest level and he has passed that down to all of the lads in the squad. He is a great leader and he is great to have around the camp, it also shows that the club are willing to reward players who perform well.”
You inspired the team to a 3-2 win over Burton Albion on 21 December and since then they have performed fantastically, was that win the confidence boost the team needed?
RH: “I think that our performances before that win were very good but it was great to get a hat-trick after what was a very difficult week for me personally. I had never scored two in one game for Barnet let alone three so it was like a dream for me. We had a setback against Aldershot and we do not seem to beat the bottom teams who are around us but hopefully I can do the same against Burton again on Saturday.”
Despite a fantastic run of form the club are still near the bottom of the table because the teams around you are also winning…
RH: “I have been saying exactly the same thing to my friends and family but even though we are not getting away we are pulling more teams into the mix. The more teams we drag into the equation the better because when it is just three teams at the bottom you are constantly looking over your shoulder. Now we can look above us and we do not have to look behind, we have sucked in Accrington Stanley so now we have to chase down the next team above us.”
Are you confident that you can stay in the division?
RH: “Definitely. I think we will finish mid-table and I can say that with the utmost confidence. The football we are playing is not just long ball, we are playing to our strengths and we are looking very good at the moment.”
What have you made of the progress being made by the club off the field because the facilities are simply outstanding?
RH: “This is my first professional club and I joined when The Hive opened so I never experienced the old training ground but I know it did not compare to this. The new stadium is also developing now and it will be up and running next season, the facilities are exceptional and I do not think any clubs, certainly in our division, can compete. It will also entice players to come to the club because this is our work place and people will want to come and play here.”
You are a self-confessed Southend United fan so did scoring at Roots Hall and grabbing an assist earlier this season leave you with mixed emotions?
RH: “Of course not, I would always choose the team I played for to win against the team I supported as a youngster. They also released me when I was younger so to go there and play like that gave me a little more satisfaction. My family and friends were also there and I scored the best goal I have in league football so it was a great day.”
Ibra Sekajja is a player who also plies his trade out on the wing, what impact has he had on the pitch and on the training ground?
RH: “He is very lively but the thing that has surprised me the most is the way he has carried out his defensive duties. I thought he was excellent against Rotherham United because they are very direct and he defended very well. There is good competition for places now which is great because it makes players stay on their toes and ensures they continue to work hard.”
Your former club Chelmsford City made it to the FA Cup second round against Crawley, that was quite an achievement for the club and you must have taken a keen interest?
RH: “I still know a few of the lads at the club and it is the same management team who I had a very good time under so it was great to see them do so well. When I was there we were promoted and it was very enjoyable because everyone gets on and it is a great environment. When I was there we got to the first round a couple of times but this year they went one better and knocked out a league team. Hopefully they can get promoted out of the division they are in because they deserve to.”