Adam McGurk has declared himself ready to kick-off Pompey’s season.
The summer recruit from League Two champions Burton Albion has been hampered by a thigh problem during a frustrating pre-season.
The gaffer is always going on about the fitness levels and how you have to be fit to play how he wants to play, so being interrupted in pre-season hasn’t helped meAdam McGurk
McGurk has totalled only 136 minutes from the three friendlies he has been available for.
Yet the 26-year-old made a goal-scoring comeback for a Pompey XI line-up at Burnham on Tuesday night in a 5-0 win.
The forward believes there were no after-effects to his maiden Blues start.
Now he insists he is ready to challenge for a place in Paul Cook’s squad for Saturday’s opener against Dagenham & Redbridge.
He said: ‘Obviously my pre-season has been interrupted getting quad (thigh) niggles, it has been very frustrating but on Tuesday it was just great to get out there for my first start.
‘I feel 100 per cent and hopefully that is the end of it now and I can get a good run going, starting with Saturday.
‘With the training being so intense at the start of pre-season there is a lot of fatigue going on and I had a shot during extra shooting and just tweaked my quad a bit.
‘Then I came back slightly too early and did it again.
‘Duggo (physio Sean Duggan) was more cautious the second time and was pulling me back refusing to let me train.
‘He did a good job to be fair to him and I put in a lot of hard work last week and was back in training with the boys on Monday.
‘The gaffer is always going on about the fitness levels and how you have to be fit to play how he wants to play, so being interrupted in pre-season hasn’t helped me.
‘Burnham was my first 65 minutes since May 2, so it has been a long time since I actually played. It means I am slightly behind game sharpness.
‘It is frustrating but there is no point beating yourself up about it. I have spoken to the manager and he has said “Don’t worry, just take your time and get fit”.
‘I am not good when it comes to injuries, I hate it and try to rush back, but hopefully that is the end of it and I can stay training every day and get over that little niggle and be back on the pitch.’
Definitely out of the Daggers clash is Adam Barton (groin), while Kal Naismith is struggling with a thigh problem.
McGurk, however, believes he can make the squad.
He added: ‘I am ready to go again for training today and am then looking forward to Saturday.
‘I was okay against Burnham, I tried to run about and get as much distance as I could, that was my objective really.
‘I was getting a little bit leggy in the second half once we came in at half-time but I don’t think I am far off.
‘Hopefully in the next week or two I can get up to full fitness.’