Sonny Bradley is adamant Pompey are more than a match for anyone in their league – providing they keep the work-rate high.
Guy Whittingham’s men travel to fellow League Two side Newport County tonight in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.
A place in the southern area semi-finals awaits the winners at the Welsh club’s Rodney Parade home (7.45pm).
County are three points and six places ahead of the Blues at present in the league standings, yet Bradley is confident his team-mates have the quality to triumph.
But he has stressed the importance of matching the opposition’s efforts if they are to succeed in that.
He said: ‘They (Newport) are another team in our league, and no matter who we are playing, from our league especially, I would certainly back us as favourites.
‘If we can match their work-rate – or even beat it – we can get through to the next round, definitely.
‘I think we have the best squad in the league, so no matter where we go, home or away, I would certainly back us to win the game.
‘We’ve had a tricky start to the season, it has been hit and miss, but it’s starting to pick up now.
‘We have lost once in seven, and if we can keep that form up in the league going to January, we certainly need to be in that top six or seven.
‘If you look at the teams that have beaten us at Fratton – Fleetwood, Chesterfield – they are the teams that are up there, we have played some good teams.
‘Sometimes when we play XI v XI on a Friday, the starting XI gets beaten by the team that is not starting, which shows just how strong the squad is.
‘I’ve watched Tom Craddock for the last week as well and he’s looking fit and strong. If we can get Crads back onto the pitch it is another attacking threat.
‘If we want to do well this season, we have got to work harder than every other team, and if we do that I think the ability will shine through.’
One player missing tonight will be Jed Wallace, who is serving a one-match ban.
Before then, he had featured in every Pompey match this season, emerging as one of the key performers.
And Bradley has been impressed with the teenager’s impact.
He added: ‘If I would name anyone who has done well, it is Jed. I don’t want to mention it too much but we will be lucky to keep hold of him if he keeps his form.
‘You talk to anyone and they will tell you the same thing, that is the way it is going to be I think.’