Assistant coaches Fadlu Davids and Mandla Ncikazi are currently in charge of the Buccaneers on an interim basis.
Barker, though, believes that the precarious situation Pirates currently find themselves in could actually motivate their hosts, although there could be an opportunity for Stellies to capitalize on any vulnerabilities.
“It’s a difficult one because I do think that often when a coach leaves a club, sometimes there is a refreshment, almost a breath of fresh air,” Barker told the media at the club’s headquarters in Stellenbosch.
“The players often feel that maybe the previous coach did not give them sufficient opportunity and they now feel that they can get an opportunity.
“But at the same time Pirates have done what they have done because there are certain things that haven’t worked. So that freshness will result in them probably coming out that first 10/15 minutes really buzzing.
But if things don’t happen for them in the game, that default mentality could come back to them that ‘oh sherbert we doing things differently and the coach is not here it will be easier for us but things are not happening for us.
At the end of the day the pressure is on Pirates. They have been knocked out of the MTN8 and lost in the Carling Cup and will be looking at a home game against Stellenbosch as a must-win.”
Stellies also need not fear a trip to Soweto Stadium as they held Pirates to a stalemate both at home and away last season. Barker’s charges are certainly not intimidated by the Buccaneers and in fact relish the contest against one of the big three teams in South Africa.
“We have traditionally played well against them. We know pretty much know their players. That’s the nice part of the big teams playing on television all the time, you can plan for them because you know their strengths and weaknesses and then you can counter that. We can definitely cause them problems,” Barker sai