Pompey given taste of what’s to come

Johnny Ertl attempts to bring a ball under control on a bobbly pitch at Braintree. Picture: Sarah Standing (131976-2522)
Johnny Ertl attempts to bring a ball under control on a bobbly pitch at Braintree. Picture: Sarah Standing (131976-2522)

Johnny Ertl pinpointed Pompey’s trip to Braintree as a dress rehearsal for what they will face in League Two.

The Blues were held to a 0-0 draw by the Conference National outfit in Essex last night.

Guy Whittingham’s side were given a physical challenge on a tricky Cressing Road pitch in their third pre-season outing.

Ertl felt that was an invaluable experience for the Blues’ new-look side.

And the Pompey captain reckons there will be plenty more games like that in the new campaign.

Ertl said: ‘It’s about the minutes at this time of the season.

‘It’s important we get the match practice and sharpness in.

‘The match was a really good test for us.

‘The pitch wasn’t great and that is the sort of thing we can expect at a few grounds this season.

‘So it was good for us to play the game under those conditions.’

Pompey now have three first-team outings left before the League Two opener against Oxford on August 3.

Charlton, Bournemouth and Rayo Vallecano lie in wait for the Blues in their final warm-up games.

The clash with the Addicks this Saturday will be the first at Fratton Park.

Ertl knows that experience will be useful for the new faces at the club.

He said: ‘There are some good signs and we are working on our fitness.

‘We are getting some hard sessions under our belt and there will be more of them for us this week.

‘We go to Fratton Park now and I’m looking forward to introducing our players to that environment. They need to get a feeling of the place and that will be important.’