Guy Whittingham feels his latest Pompey team would have held their own in League One if they had started the season together.
The caretaker Blues boss assessed the latest revamp of the Blues squad and wonders what could have been achieved if they had joined in pre-season.
As it is, many of the current crop are still finding their match fitness while they are thrown together as a team.
Whittingham said: ‘I’m a bit happier with the way the squad looks now.
‘There is a better balance about it.
‘A few more people became available after the January transfer window so there was a bit more choice.
‘With one or two more additions, I think it would be a decent squad in this league.
‘To have had six weeks behind you in pre-season with this group of players would have been great.
‘But as we all know, we have never had that situation.
‘Who knows how well we could have done with this group?
‘We’ve been competitive and we’ve not been a million miles away.
‘So you would like to think we would have had better results with a bit more time to work together and build a few things.’
Previous boss Michael Appleton’s plans were torn apart on the eve of the season as a budget that he was promised was then slashed.
And that has affected the continuity of the team throughout the season, with players leaving and joining at regular intervals.
Whittingham, however, has lamented the missed opportunity to build continuity and make a positive start to the campaign.
And while he is pleased with his side’s recent progress, the fear is that it is too late for this season.
He said: ‘To be a successful team over the course of a season, you have to get off to a good start.
‘That means working on things in pre-season as well.
‘With everything that was going on for Michael Appleton at the start of the season, there was no chance of that happening.
‘But now we are trying to gel the team together as the season comes towards an end.’