Barker: Players have been given a chance

Thery Racon in action for Pompey. Picture: Joe Pepler
Thery Racon in action for Pompey. Picture: Joe Pepler

THIS WEEK IN 1980: Fratton boycotted by Plymouth fans

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Richie Barker defended the omission of Thery Racon and insisted: Players have been given a chance.

The Frenchman has failed to make an appearance in Pompey’s last four matches, despite having been in the squad.

Instead, Romain Padovani and Wes Fogden have lined up alongside Toumani Diagouraga in central midfield in recent weeks.

Last weekend Jack Whatmough was the surprise name in the role, switching from his customary central defensive position.

With Racon’s contract up in the summer, it remains highly doubtful he will win a fresh one after 32 appearances for the club.

Regardless, Barker is adamant the squad he inherited from Guy Whittingham has been given opportunities to impress.

Racon, who lined-up in Barker’s first match in charge against Newport County, has made eight starts and 10 appearances in total under the new boss.

Padovani has featured just as many times, although is presently hampered by a calf injury.

Simon Ferry, Andy Barcham, Tom Craddock, Dan Butler and Danny East have been hindered by injury.

While Johnny Ertl, who has not made Pompey’s last three squads, has made five appearances, two of which were starts.

And Barker believes players have been given the stage to prove what they can do.

He said: ‘A lot of players have had opportunities and I think – to be fair – some people have had more than their share of opportunities.

‘Thery, like others, has had chances.

‘I don’t think there are too many in the squad who can say they haven’t been given a chance to show what they can do.

‘Maybe two of them could say that, people who have only had two or three chances.

‘But the rest have been given opportunities.

‘You look at Simon Ferry, who hasn’t played often, and we are still hoping he will come back this season.

‘But we cannot sit around, we are not in a position to wait for him and others have had their chance as a result.

‘Now we have Rhys (McCabe) to have a look at.’