Shaun Cooper warned Pompey: It’s a rough ride in League Two.
The Blues loanee sounded a stark warning about the realities of the English game’s basement tier following the club’s relegation.
Cooper feels anyone thinking Guy Whittingham’s side will bounce back with ease next season is in for a shock.
The 29-year-old reckons it will be far from straightforward for Pompey to gain promotion in the 2013-14 League Two campaign.
And Cooper is speaking from experience after operating in the division throughout his career.
The defender knows all about the hurly burly that is in store for the side he joined on loan from Crawley.
The Isle of Wight-born talent has seen plenty of League Two playing time in his periods at Bournemouth, Kidderminster and Leyton Orient.
And he feels the excitement and enthusiasm at the possibilities for the first season of the Pompey Supporters’ Trust era needs to be tempered with realism.
Pompey are expected to become short-priced favourites with the bookies to succeed Gillingham as League Two champions next season.
But Cooper feels the reality is it will be anything but simple for the side he made seven appearances for this season to enjoy success.
He said: ‘The club is back on its feet. It is good to see that, too, after everything it’s been through.
‘It’s exciting at last for the supporters and there is a lot to look forward to next season, that’s for sure.
‘I just hope everyone keeps their feet on the ground moving forward.
‘One thing I do know is it’s not going to be easy in League Two next season.
‘Anyone who thinks it will be straight-forward to bounce back is going to be in for a surprise.
‘I know myself that it is a tough, tough league to get out of.
‘And anyone thinking it is going to be easy because Pompey are a big team will soon be shocked.’
Pompey’s crowds will undoubtedly install them as heavy-hitters as they step down to League Two for the first time since 1980.
But it will be a different story on the road as Whittingham’s men are introduced to many of the game’s outposts.
Trips to Morecambe, Fleetwood and Accrington will all be on the agenda as fans clock up plenty of new grounds.
And Cooper believes that may take some getting used to, along with the brand of football Pompey are going to come up against.
‘The games come all the time and you will be playing during the week and at the weekend,’ he said.
‘That’s a test but that’s not the biggest issue.
‘It’s horrible football. It’s not pretty and won’t be for the faint-hearted.
‘The players will have to get used to that quickly.
‘There’s no guarantees at all. It’s not always easy to play football.
‘You just can’t play football all the time and that is something that will need to be adjusted to.
‘Another thing is people will look forward to playing against Pompey. It will be a big occasion for them.
‘That’s something I think Bradford have found out this season. Everyone has raised their game to play them.
‘But if things are organised and get sorted out here, there’s no reason the side won’t do well.’
Cooper’s team-mate, Simon Eastwood, echoed the sentiment that Pompey will be a side teams will want to impress against next season.
‘There are going to be a lot of expectations placed upon us,’ he said.
‘Hopefully, we are capable of managing them.
‘All the lads want to concentrate on football.
‘We’re going to be bookies’ favourites.
‘We want to keep the best players we have here and justify that.’