Whittingham challenges goal-shy Therry to add to his game

Therry Racon
Therry Racon
Joe Hancott in action for Pompey Reserves against Southend. Picture: Colin Farmery

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Guy Whittingham has thrown down the goal-scoring gauntlet to Therry Racon and challenged him to break his Pompey duck.

The attacking midfielder has failed to score in 10 Blues matches since arriving on loan from Millwall.

Despite starting every one of those games, the Frenchman has barely registered an attack on goal from his central midfield role.

It’s an aspect of his game Whittingham is seeking an improvement to, although Racon overall continues to impress.

Having made two appearances in 21 months before signing for the Blues, the 28-year-old is getting back into his footballing stride.

But his caretaker boss feels his lack of goals are a concern.

Whittingham said: ‘We are being a little bit more demanding of Therry.

‘We are saying to him now “you have played as many games as you have so it’s about time you started leading us a bit better”.

‘You just don’t want people to be comfortable, you have got to keep demanding more and more off every player and we are asking every player not to rest on their laurels.

‘I want Therry to shoot more, get in and around the box more because now he has got himself fit he can do that.

‘He has got the ability to score goals, for sure. It’s not an easy thing because when you haven’t played for a long time and haven’t been doing the things you are good at for a while I think it takes time for that to come back naturally to you.

‘These are little things we are trying to get in there.

‘He is one that hasn’t played many games but is getting fitter and fitter, looking stronger and his touch and vision is coming back.

‘He is looking a good acquisition for us at the moment.’

Racon came into the English game from France with Charlton in 2007 when they were in the Championship.

Most of his 115 appearances were in a wide position before an injury-jinxed spell at Millwall.

After a Pompey debut on the wing against Bournemouth, Whittingham moved him into the centre to partner Johnny Ertl.

They have remained a double act in that role over the nine fixtures since, forming an important backbone.

And Pompey’s manager believes the combination continues to work well.

He added: ‘Therry’s not quick enough to be a winger!

‘I think he’s a player we need with his ability on the ball in a congested central midfield area which it can be sometimes.

‘We needed to make sure we had players who could manipulate the ball well and he is one of those.

‘He keeps things simple. With him alongside Johnny, defensively I think they can both stop attacks early on and then when they get on the ball they look to move it quick and try to keep it simple.

‘They work well as a pair and that has obviously got better as they have kept going.

‘Johnny has really pushed on in the last couple of months and become a big player for us and I think Therry realises that. He can see what Johnny does defensively and takes more of an active role.

‘With Therry, though, he has not played consistent games for a while – but is improving.’