Michael Appleton looked ahead to Pompey’s summer overhaul and admitted: It will be the biggest of the biggest.
And the Blues boss has revealed the past week has been the most difficult since arriving at the club.
Appleton expects as few as three or four of the current squad to remain from the fire sale to keep Pompey alive.
Joel Ward looks certain to be one of those going out the door, with Ipswich boss Paul Jewell telling owner Marcus Evans he quickly wants to wrap up a deal for the player.
Appleton is prepared to build a squad from the ashes of what is left as the vast majority of players prepare to wave goodbye at Nottingham Forest today.
He said: ‘(The overhaul) will be the biggest of the biggest.
‘Who knows how many players will go? I’d be guessing but I don’t think you’d be far out (from three or four players remaining next season).
‘There’s been a few enquiries and Trevor (Birch) has been busy. I think there will be a lot of people going out the door the day the transfer window opens.’
Appleton revealed the past few days have been his most challenging since becoming manager in November.
Relegation, job losses and the confirmation players will have to go this summer has made it a tough period.
Appleton said: ‘It’s been a difficult week, probably the most difficult week.
‘There has to be further reductions on the salaries.
‘I think there’s a cap put on the amount that can be paid from now for the foreseeable future.
‘This is how it is and how it will be until we know more in terms of ownership, which is not helpful. It’s where we are.
‘I understand the players being angry and frustrated but then I completely understand it from Trevor’s point of view.
‘If they don’t do it there won’t even be a club.’