Tom Naylor is ready for what is arguably Pompey’s toughest spell of the season.
The fixture computer was certainly not in a festive mood when it handed them matches against Barnsley and Sunderland just before Christmas.
Oakwell is the destination this weekend for the first of two games against sides relegated from the Championship last term.
Naylor is happy that there is no midweek outing sandwiched between them, though, and is ready for the test that lies ahead.
He said: “They’re up there for a reason – the same as us. We all know it’s going to be a particularly hard game.
“Then the one after that is against Sunderland, so it’s probably two of the biggest matches of the season for us.
"We’ve been playing Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday quite a lot recently, but we’ll be able to recharge the batteries."
“We want to get through them and the ones just after Christmas and then see where we are at the start of January.
“It’s nice that there’s a little bit of breathing space between the two fixtures because it gives us time to regroup.
“We’ve been playing Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday quite a lot recently, but we’ll be able to recharge the batteries.
“Everyone’s professional in this group and we know what to do on our rest days. We’re a fit bunch and show we can cope with a lot of games.”
Naylor is delighted to have central midfield partner Ben Thompson available, with the loanee seeing his midweek red card overturned.
He said: “Ben’s a great player for us and would have been a massive miss because he’s one of those guys who can create things.
“I just have to sit there and give him the ball – then he can do whatever he wants to do. He makes my life a bit easier.”