RICKY Holmes told his Pompey team-mates: We have to prove our worth.
Holmes celebrated his injury return as the Blues picked up a gutsy 2-1 win over Cambridge on Saturday.
Pompey’s player of the year has been struggling with a thigh problem, but came off the bench to help his side to a maiden league victory.
Andy Awford made five changes from the side which defeated Peterborough in the Capital One Cup last Tuesday.
The likes of skipper Ben Chorley, Andy Barcham and Johnny Ertl all missed out on being in the squad for the weekend win.
Holmes feels that underlines the importance of seizing opportunities.
He said: ‘We’ve got strength in depth.
‘We’ve taken our captain and leader out.
‘We’ve taken out Barch (Andy Barcham), who would get into any other team in this league.
‘When you are playing Saturday and Tuesday you have to utilise the squad.
‘There is quality to come in and get results. It’s about rotation and rest.
‘There is no sulking. You might have the hump for a bit, but we are doing it properly here.
‘We’re all out to prove our worth to the gaffer when we get our chance.’
Holmes acknowledged Saturday’s victory shows progress in the team since he joined the club last season.
He said: ‘There’s every chance that we might not have held on last season.
‘We have strong characters now.
‘That’s not to say they weren’t there before, but maybe we have a winning mentality.
‘Teams crumble but we have that winning mentality now.
‘We’re unbeaten in 10 games under the new gaffer.
‘Saturday epitomised what he’s all about – and that is instilled in the team.’