Simon Ferry believes Pompey deserve to be League Two favourites but warned: It won’t be easy.
The new midfielder was a key part of the Swindon side who stormed to the title two seasons ago.
He knows exactly what it takes to climb out of English football’s basement division.
Most bookmakers believe the Blues will win League Two – with some having set odds as short as 4-1.
But Ferry insists it will not be a stroll in the park if Pompey are to achieve promotion back to League One at the first attempt.
Ferry said: ‘With the size of this club, I think they were always going to be favourites for promotion.
‘Portsmouth should not be playing in League Two with the size and history of this club and the fanbase here.
‘But it’s a hard league – it’s nowhere near as easy as everyone makes out.
‘We all know we will be in for a long, hard season but we should definitely be up there challenging with the players we have here.
‘This squad is just as good as the Swindon one that was promoted.’
Blues boss Guy Whittingham is determined to keep a lid on expectation levels after the club narrowly avoided liquidation last term.
But he is also keen to tap into the feel-good factor and build some early momentum by winning Saturday’s opener against Oxford United.
Ferry’s arrival certainly adds some extra quality to Whittingham’s ranks.
The 25-year-old believes success at this level is not entirely down to the ability of the players, but more about the attitude.
He said: ‘Hard work gets you out of League Two.
‘The team that plays the nicest football might not win it – it’s the team that is ready to work and battle every week.
‘You need to be on it to go to some hard places.
‘But if you put in the work-rate, the ability will shine through.’
Ferry, who came on as a substitute in the 2-0 defeat to Rayo Vallecano on Sunday, has already been impressed by what he has seen of his new team-mates.
He believes Pompey have plenty of fire-power with an array of attacking options.
‘There are some household names here in Patrick Agyemang and David Connolly,’ said Ferry.
‘Not many teams in League Two will have strikers like that.
‘But there are other good forwards here and a lot of good players throughout the team.’
Ferry is determined to see Pompey off to a winning start on Saturday.
He said: ‘It would set us up for the rest of the season if we can get off to a winning start.
‘We’ll have 18,000 people there right behind us but we need to do our bit as well.
‘It’s massive. You need to be winning your home games to get out of this league and that’s what we are aiming to do.’