Barker satisfied with Racon return to Pompey line-up

Pompey midfielder Thery Racon
Pompey midfielder Thery Racon

Richie Barker labelled Thery Racon’s Pompey display as ‘okay’ after his popular return to the first team at the weekend.

Many fans had been calling for the Frenchman to be restored to the starting line-up following four matches on the bench.

For Saturday’s visit to Exeter they had their wish, with the Blues boss naming the former Millwall player in place of Romain Padovani.

The other change was Wes Fogden preferred on the flank to Jed Wallace.

And regardless of the last-gasp heartbreak in the 1-1 draw, Barker was satisfied with the showings of Racon and Fogden.

He said: ‘I felt we needed a bit more protection in front of the back four with Exeter playing with somebody in the hole so decided on Thery as opposed to Romain.

‘He did okay, he complicated it a couple of times in terms of a tough pitch to play on, but I thought he broke things up pretty well and did okay.

‘We were trying to press them and get us higher up the pitch so I went for Wes and Ricky (Holmes) in those roles.

‘They were the ones who are better doing that if you like.

‘Probably not quite as inventive but in terms of pressing from the front they are good at that.

‘In the end, Ricky was tired and blowing a little bit and it was felt we needed some fresh legs out there, so he had to bring him off.’

Meanwhile, another midfielder has been loaned out by Barker, in the form of Jack Maloney to Lewes.

The youngster, from the Isle of Wight, will spend a month with the Ryman League premier division side as he seeks first-team opportunities.

He made 10 appearances last season, including a start in the 1-0 Fratton Park victory over Tranmere.

But during the current campaign Maloney has only made the first-team squad four times, featuring as a substitute against Southend at home.

A frustrating campaign for the 19-year-old has also seen him make only two appearances during an early-season loan spell at Aldershot.

And Barker is hoping the spell at the Dripping Pan will benefit his development.

He added: ‘Jack has gone to Lewes as he needed to play football, the development games are few and far between.

‘He was twice on the bench for me and was once or twice before I came as well, but he needs to play.

‘We have an almost fully-fit squad so that wasn’t happening for him.’