ANDY BARCHAM has promised he is ready for Pompey to step up their pre-season preparations.
But the winger admitted he harboured reservations about his ability to go through the gears in building up for the new campaign.
Barcham got a positive 45 minutes under his belt in Tuesday’s 2-0 win at Thurrock.
That was good news for the 27-year-old as he feels his way back from the thigh injury which dogged him last season.
Andy Awford’s side have had three useful outings so far ahead of the League Two curtain-raiser at Exeter on August 9.
They now travel to Ebbsfleet on Saturday before meetings with Bournemouth and Charlton.
Barcham is expecting the players to face more intense training sessions as the campaign moves closer.
And he knows Pompey will be given tougher tests in their remaining games.
But he is happy and confident he will be able to respond to that step up in intensity.
Barcham said: ‘We’re all looking for minutes ahead of the big kick-off.
‘It’s all about being there for the start of the season.
‘We’ve got tougher games coming up and more intense training sessions in view of that. It’s still about fitness at this stage.
‘Some of the lads are still on 45 minutes and others have done 60 in games.
‘It’s about building it until we get to 90. Sometimes you can go through the motions in pre-season games.
‘But that certainly hasn’t been the case so far.
‘Each game has been worked out to provide us with different tests and give us different challenges.
‘We will get the fitness side out of it on Saturday and it will build up the minutes.
‘I, in particular, want to do that after my injury.’
Barcham’s first season at Pompey was curtailed in February as he struggled with his thigh problem.
That meant a long summer of building up his strength and stamina in a bid to avoid a recurrence of the injury.
The former Spurs trainee confessed he had worries he would be behind his team-mates in terms of his ability to get ready for the new season – but that hasn’t been the case.
Barcham said: ‘At this stage everyone is searching for their fitness and trying to build it up in time for the season.
‘Where I’ve been out for so long there was a bit of a worry I’d be behind all the other boys.
‘But I’m happy with where I’m at with it at the moment.
‘I’ve been doing stuff in the gym with my pre-hab.
‘That helps with making sure I’m ready to train.
‘You have to cater for different people and their needs.
‘It’s beneficial to me and seems to be working.’