Racon handed timely breather

Pompey midfielder Thery Racon. Picture: Barry Zee
Pompey midfielder Thery Racon. Picture: Barry Zee
Conor Chaplin could start againsyt Plymouth. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey v Plymouth: pre-match talking points

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Thery Racon was given a breather at Torquay to protect him from burn-out.

Blues boss Guy Whittingham raised a few eyebrows with his team selection at Plainmoor as he restored Simon Ferry to partner Johnny Ertl in central midfield.

That was at the expense of the Frenchman who has impressed since his return to the club earlier this month.

Racon, who became an important player for Pompey towards the back end of last season, could not agree terms at Fratton Park over the summer on a permanent deal.

But after finding himself without a club, it meant he was available for a one-month deal with Pompey.

He now looks set to extend his stay as Whittingham has clearly taken a longer-term view to keep him fresh for the battles ahead, with a congested fixture list over the coming weeks.

Whittingham said: ‘Thery has played three-and-a-half games from having no pre-season.

‘He hadn’t played any football before he came back so we had to be careful not to ask him to do too much, too soon.

‘Bringing Simon back into the side and putting Thery on the bench was no slight on him because he has been in a side that hasn’t lost since he has been back with us. He has done well.

‘But it’s a long November and a long December, with plenty of games in there.

‘So you want to make sure you’ve got the biggest squad available for the games we have coming up.

‘We haven’t got the biggest squad so we need to think about these things and that’s what we’re doing.’

While Racon did get a late run-out as substitute at Torquay, it was to replace a tiring Ferry.

‘Simon was brought off because he was feeling a bit tight and looked a bit tired, which is understandable,’ said Whittingham.

‘But I thought he did well for us.’

With central-defender Sonny Bradley suspended for the trip to Devon, Joe Devera returned to the heart of the defence to open up a gap at left-back.

And Whittingham explained it was a close call between Shaun Cooper and Danny East for a recall, with Marcos Painter still sidelined by a calf problem.

Whittingham added: ‘In the end it came down to the fact Shaun had come back in and trained longer than Danny East.

‘With Simon Ferry coming back into the side, there were two coming back from injury.

‘It was a bit more of a risk if you throw in two players straight from injuries, so I went with Shaun.

‘I thought he had a solid game.

‘He did really well to get through a game after a spell out with injury.’