There was no doubt about whether the footballs would be used on the first day of pre-season training.
They are, after all, an important tool of the trade for Danny Cowley’s troops as they try to plot a successful 2021/22 campaign.
So once the squad emerged from a morning meeting with the head coach and his staff, what followed resembled a normal session.
With plenty of recruitment work still to be done and a couple of players given a few extra days off, there were a host of trialists on display at Pompey’s Copnor Road base.
But new arrivals Shaun Williams, Clark Robertson and Liam Vincent were all present and Cowley was pleased with what he saw.
The Blues boss said: “The players had come back in during the break to do some testing at different times, but this time it was back on the balls.
“We were pleased with the shape they returned in they all had close-season programmes that were bespoke to them.
“They looked in really good nick and now I’m sure we’re all looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead.
"The players had come back in during the break to do some testing at different times, but this time it was back on the balls."
“We met as a group, spoke about the way we want to work and what the next period looks like – the next 40 days of pre-season.
“If you’re on a journey, then the first thing you have to do is start the sat-nav, so we did that in the player meeting and hopefully we were able to light their eyes up a little bit.
“The session was an opportunity to get them working with the ball again and there were a lot of technical and physical returns.
“We play football with a ball, so it’s important that we train with one as well. Ninety per cent of our work is ball related.
“There were some trialists in as well because we like to work with around 20 outfield players during all our sessions.”
The country is gearing up for a huge contest this evening, with England facing Germany for a place in the Euro 2020 quarter-finals.
Cowley said: “We’ve still got quite a lot of recruitment work to do, but if we get a chance then we’ll certainly watch it.
“Hopefully England can find a way past the Germans because if we can, then the competition really opens up.”