Joel Ward feels Pompey’s loan contingent are providing the competition which has added a spark to their survival hopes.
The versatile Blues star has seen the team at a low ebb at times this season and struggling to get a side out, with injuries and suspensions biting into the squad.
But even after the recent high-profile loan departures, the recruitment of George Thorne, Scott Allan, Chris Maguire, Karim Rekik and Luca Scapuzzi has made Pompey’s regular first-teamers check over their collective shoulders once again.
Ward said: ‘We’ve had a couple more loan additions come in lately. We’ve got some people back fit and all of a sudden there is some competition for places.
‘Everyone is playing for their positions now. We’ve got to put in performances week in, week out and keep pushing to stay in the side.
‘When anyone comes in, you take a look at yourself and all of us want to play football.
‘You don’t want to be sat on the bench. Even though it’s a squad game, we all want to be out on the pitch and in the starting XI.
‘So you have to show that little extra bit of fight and it puts everyone on their toes a bit more.
‘But the new lads have given everyone a lift.
‘They have got real class and, hopefully, we can drive on now.’
Ward, who netted the second goal in the 2-0 win over Hull, has also called for a similar performance against Burnley tomorrow to give Pompey the chance to climb out of the relegation zone.
He said: ‘We need to play with freedom and I think we did that against Hull.
‘But we will keep battling away and try to do the same against Burnley.
‘We’re at home again and we want to make sure we keep building momentum.
‘We will take the positives from the Hull game.
‘If we can keep putting in performances like we did against Hull and Birmingham then, hopefully, we can get out of it.
‘From the word go, we have had our own little table with the teams around us.
‘It was a while back that we made this place a fortress and we’re looking to do that again. Fratton Park always has been and we relish playing the home games.
‘The fans have been unbelievable for us all season and I’m sure it will be another great atmosphere. We’ll be giving it everything for another win.’