Atangana goes the extra mile

Nigel Atangana   Picture: Joe Pepler
Nigel Atangana Picture: Joe Pepler

Nigel Atangana revealed he gave up his summer break to help him make the step-up from non-league football.

The former Hawks midfielder joined Pompey last month and turned in another encouraging display in his second game for the Blues as they romped to a 6-1 win at Bognor.

Coming on as a half-time substitute, the Frenchman shrugged off the muggy conditions and impressed with his work-rate in the middle.

But as he attempts to bridge the gap to make the most of his opportunity – especially in fitness terms – Atangana gave up the prospect of a return to his homeland or a fortnight on a beach to put in the miles and get into the best possible shape.

He explained: ‘Before pre-season started, I worked all summer.

‘I was in the gym almost every day or doing a lot of running.

‘At Havant, we would train twice per week, although I used to do more training on my own.

‘But I knew I needed to do more to be able to adapt.

‘I enjoyed my time at Havant. I have a lot of really good friends there and I thank them for the opportunity.

‘But non-league is not the same and I feel much fitter than I did. I want to do my very best for Portsmouth.’

Those who have successfully made the transition from the non-league ranks to the professional game have often taken time to cope with the extra physical demands.

But Atangana certainly looks like he has the raw tools in his early outings.

Atangana was given the honour of skippering the side on his return to West Leigh Park last weekend in the 4-0 win against his old club.

And he admitted he was proud to do the job, even though it was a temporary gesture.

‘It was very nice of the manager to do that. I enjoyed the experience and it was a proud moment,’ said Atangana.

‘But now I am focused on making the most of my chance at Portsmouth.

‘I know this is a very big club and I want to give everything I can.

‘I am excited and looking forward to the new season.’

The midfielder was also satisfied with the performance as Pompey eased through the gears to chalk up a second pre-season victory over local non-league opposition.

He said: ‘It was hard work because it was so hot.

‘Pre-season is never easy but I think we played quite well and everyone gave 100 per cent.

‘Now we have a week away in Colchester. It will be a good chance to get to know the other players more, work hard in training and get ourselves ready for the new season.’