AS A FRENCHMAN living in England for the best part of six years, Thery Racon has already adapted to the change in lifestyle.
But the 29-year-old has found himself in more alien surroundings this season, and he admits he is still trying to make the adjustments to the unique nature of League Two football.
Schooled at former European champions Marseille, it’s unlikely Racon’s development as a footballer would have included how to cope with an aerial bombardment.
And with Pompey also having to adopt to a more direct style themselves at times, it has sometimes seen the midfield by-passed and left the former Charlton and Millwall man with neck ache.
Guy Whittingham’s side can expect another physical challenge as they go to Stevenage in the FA Cup first round tomorrow.
Racon, who yesterday signed a new deal with the club until January, knows what’s required.
He said: ‘League Two is okay. It’s not far from League One.
‘Last summer, I wasn’t sure it would be right for me.
‘Now I have played a few games, and sometimes when I’ve finished I’m thinking “Come on, can we all play a bit more football?”
‘It’s hard sometimes. But that’s the way it is and we all have to get used to that.
‘I’m someone who likes to play with the ball on the floor and sometimes the ball is in the air all the time and you are chasing second balls.
‘It’s not the thing I prefer.
‘But it’s better to play in League Two now rather than be waiting around for a club in League One or the Championship.
‘And we try to play a lot more football than some of the other teams in this division. We have good players.
‘We need to be able to play in different ways against the other teams we face.’
In the 3-2 win over Exeter – a team who also preferred to get the ball down – Racon partnered Simon Ferry in central midfield, with Johnny Ertl dropped, while Romain Padovani and Gavin Mahon are also pushing for a recall.
But Racon knows there is some fierce competition for places at present.
He said: ‘We’ve got quite a lot of players who can play in central midfield and that’s good for the manager.
‘I feel we need to find the right pair and that is for the manager to decide – not me.
‘But one thing is good is that there are a few players there.
‘If one is injured, the manager knows there is someone on the bench waiting.
‘Competition pushes you to do your best.’
– STEVE WILSON