Raggy's Return

Raggy Soma returned this week to where it all began for him in England and says that, a year on from his arrival in England, he is determined to make it as a first team regular at Upton Park.

It was in a trial game away to Wimbledon reserves that convinced the previous manager to sign Raggy from Norwegian club Bryne for £800,000, and he returned to Kingstonian's ground this week to play his part in a 4-0 win over the Dons.

Looking back on a year with the Hammers, and how it all began, he says: "It was the same ground as my 'debut' but I didn't have good memories of the first game because I was guilty on the last goal we conceded, and we lost 2-1 on that one, so it was a little bit better going back this time.

"It was good to play a game again. I played the week before but it was about six or seven weeks before that with Christmas and the new year.

"Hopefully I can start performing well enough to start getting in the squad again after there were no games we could show off in.

"I feel I have started quite well now after the break so I have to hope that I can continue on that run.

"I have to do that now. It has been a while since I last got in the squad and I haven't given up on it, but it is getting more and more difficult as we get more and more players and the team does better and better."

"I can't give up because then I would be finished. It is a difficult situation but I just have to give myself a little bit more time."

Raggy came on for the defeats at Middlesbrough and Everton, and started in the 7-1 loss at Blackburn, as well as being an unused sub for five games at the beginning of the season, but has not been involved since.

"I have only been here for just over a year," he says, "and I feel it would be a little bit early to give in already now. If things do turn out that way you never know.

"We could also be unlucky with injuries and suddenly the way would be open again, but you can't throw in the towel because of it looking difficult.

"I thought that I might have a better opportunity since Glenn took over, rather than someone from the outside, but I have played in games when we haven't played our best and I have suffered a bit after that, if it isn't too strong a word, because I haven't been playing since.

"But it could have been even more difficult if a manager had come in from the outside and didn't know at all what I was capable of. At least Glenn is honest with me."

He knows, though, that competition for defensive positions is increasing even though Rigobert Song has gone out to Cologne on loan, and adds: "It is difficult because we are starting to get a lot of defenders at the club and there will be a lot of them fighting for the same bone, but if I get the opportunity again I will just have to try and grab it with both hands - and hang on to it.

"I don't think I was that prepared to be left out of everything but the past two reserve games have been quite good, and hopefully I can get the opportunity from that.

"There are a lot of good players at the club and you learn something new every day."

The recent arrival of left sided defender Vladimir Labant might make things more difficult for him, but more specifically, the arrival of Tomas Repka as the mainstay of the central defence has contributed to him being out of the picture, with Christian Dailly and Hayden Foxe ahead of him in the pecking order.

But he has no problems with that and adds: "Tomas has been great. He was a bit unlucky getting the two red cards early on but after that he has been very good - there is no doubt he is a quality player.

"He is strong and he knows when to stay calm, and it is a lot easier to speak to him now he is speaking good English. He is a great man and a terrific player.

"I haven't really spoken much to Vladimir but he has shown a lot of quality during training. He can play left back and also midfield, and he is going to be a great addition to the group."