Guy Whittingham defended Pompey’s status as English football’s busiest recruiters and vowed: We need a squad right now.
The Blues players yesterday returned for the first of two days of fitness tests ahead of the start of pre-season training next week.
Whittingham will have 17 squad members at his disposal, plus the club’s development group, when they report for duty on Monday.
The Pompey boss has recruited 14 of those players, a total unsurpassed in all four divisions of the English game.
Crucially, it will give Whittingham a group to begin working with from the outset of pre-season.
That is a far cry from years gone by at Pompey when there was barely a shell of a first-team set-up at this stage of the campaign.
Whittingham said: ‘We had three players at the end of last season.
‘If you have a set amount of players coming in and want them to gel really quickly, you have got to get them in for the start of pre-season.
‘There is no point drip-feeding them.
‘That was the important thing we did, that we got a squad here for day one for training.
‘Bringing one or two in is okay, but bringing five, six, seven or eight in doesn’t give you a decent pre-season. Look at the start of last season.’
Whittingham also explained the need to take his squad away for a pre-season training camp in Colchester next month.
He said: ‘I know people look at it and think “what do you need to go away for”? But that is when the players will give you 24 hours a day for five days, and that is the time they really get to know each other.
‘They come into training, socialise, have lunch together and disappear back to the room. That is where you really get to know people and we will probably learn about them in those five days, too.’