It has been a long wait, but the 2020/21 campaign finally begins for the Blues this weekend.
Kenny Jackett’s side make the trip to League Two outfit Stevenage in the first round of the Carabao Cup.
There is no doubt that the quest to reach the Championship will remain the priority following last-term’s play-off heartache.
But Joe Gallen wants to get the campaign off to a positive start and is heartened by the current state of the squad.
Pompey’s assistant manager said: “We’re very much looking forward to the first game and are pleased that it has been brought forward a week.
“The players are ready to go and have trained extremely well. They look sharp and hungry, so we’re excited.
"You always want to get off to a winning start and I believe there’s a good attitude among our squad – perhaps helped by the fact the group’s a bit smaller."
“We have to go to Stevenage and try to perform the best we can to try to get through to the next round. It will be the best team we can put on the day.
“I’m sure it’s going to be a tough contest for us and they will be looking to cause an upset, so it’s up to us to make sure there isn’t one.
“You always want to get off to a winning start and I believe there’s a good attitude among our squad – perhaps helped by the fact the group’s a bit smaller.”
Ellis Harrison and Reeco Hackett-Fairchild are likely to miss out, with the duo having just recovered from respective calf and knee problems.
Gallen said: “They both returned to training on Thursday for the first time in a couple of weeks, although I think Saturday will be too soon for them.
“I would think they need another week and will perhaps be targeting the Colchester or Shrewsbury games.
“Other than that – in terms of the senior players – we’re pretty clear from injuries and have a fit bunch.”