A back injury means it has been a frustrating pre-season period for Oli Hawkins.
So the striker was pleased to get through the entirety of Pompey’s final friendly at Woking on Tuesday evening.
And he certainly made an impact, netting a brace – with skipper Brett Pitman scoring the other two goals – in a 4-2 victory over the National League side.
Now Hawkins is looking to build on that first appearance and play a pivotal role in the Blues’ League One campaign.
He said: “It was my first 90 minutes and it’s nice just to get out there, score a couple of goals and dust off a few cobwebs.
“You always want to have chances, get in the box and try to be on the end of those crosses that are coming in.
"The injury wasn’t a serious one – it was just a problem with my back that meant I couldn’t get on with things."
“I was pleased to score twice and there might have been some more, but overall I’m happy with the result.
“It’s been quite tough for me and I’ve never really had a pre-season before where I’ve been out of action.
“The injury wasn’t a serious one – it was just a problem with my back that meant I couldn’t get on with things.
“I had to remain patient and it’s slowly been getting better. It was nice to get some minutes and now I can look forward to the season ahead.”
Pompey narrowly missed out on promotion in the 2018/19 campaign and Hawkins believes they can mount a new challenge.
He said: “We were strong last season and I think we’re going to be right up there again this time around.
“A few positions have been added to and everyone seems to be raring to go and looking for promotion.”