Perry is very merry to be back out on the pitch once again

Perry Ryan
Perry Ryan
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It has taken a drop of six divisions to discover regular football.

And Perry Ryan is loving every minute of it.

Bognor Regis Town represent something of a footballing oasis for the Pompey defender.

The scrapping of the Fratton Park reserves and failure to break into Steve Cotterill’s first-team squad had left him suited and booted with nowhere to play.

For an 18-year-old in his first season as a professional, it has been a campaign of tremendous frustration.

Only the occasional friendly and the odd guest appearance for the Academy have provided any sort of match action.

That was until last month when Ryan moved to Ryman League division one south on an initial month’s loan with Bognor.

Since then that has been extended until the end of the season, with the Copnor youngster emerging as a key figure in their promotion charge.

No wonder Ryan is buzzing with life at Nyewood Lane.

He said: ‘I am at the stage of my career where I want to be out playing games and getting experience.

‘It has been tough with no reserve fixtures. Not only for me as a footballer but people cannot come to watch and make their minds up whether to take you or not.

‘It has been hard just to get noticed by other clubs.

‘At the start of the season I even had a few games with the Academy as an over-age player. It was just to stay match-fit and keep levels topped up.

‘I had the chance to go to Salisbury with Ellis Martin earlier in the season but it fell through.

‘Then the call came from Bognor wanting me to play there for a month because one of their regular centre-halves were missing.

‘That was eight games ago and I am still here. It has been extended until the end of the season, which is fantastic.

‘I am now playing regular football and happy with that. I am doing well and keeping fit.

‘For the first two weeks, I had not played for a while so it was hard to get back into it, but you soon pick it up again.

‘I’m really enjoying it. It is a tough league to play in. Bognor play good football, there are some great lads here and we’ve been getting good results.

‘You are playing football and it means something. You are playing for three points and, as a footballer, there is nothing better.’

For Ryan, first-team football also represents the chance to secure his future.

He is out of contract with Pompey at the end of the season along with Martin, Peter Gregory and Billy Goddard.

As it stands, he remains unsure what will happen at Fratton Park.

For the time being, though, he’s just revelling in playing again.

He added: ‘I’ll just see what happens with my contract.

‘I am not thinking about that at the moment. I’m just enjoying my football.’