Joe Devera felt Pompey passed the physical test provided by Braintree but admitted: It wasn’t nice.
The Blues were held to a 0-0 draw by the Conference National side on their third pre-season outing last night.
But Devera was pleased to see the Blues given a tough run out as they honed their preparations for the new campaign.
Braintree gave Guy Whittingham’s side plenty to think about on a bobbly surface after turning over Southend last week.
Devera refused to use the pitch as an excuse for his side failing to create much in the way of clear-cut opportunities, though.
The 26-year-old took the clean sheet as a positive.
He knows it’s all about building sharpness, though, as the countdown to the League Two opener against Oxford on August 3 continues.
Devera said: ‘It was a classic pre-season game.
‘It was mainly about fitness.
‘There were positives to take from it in getting the clean sheet.
‘It wasn’t pretty but there were plus points from us to take from the game.
‘The boys put a shift in but there were not a lot of chances created.
‘That is something that we will look to work on, though. It wasn’t nice.
‘The pitch wasn’t great – but it could have been a lot worse.
‘It was bobbly, very bobbly in fact, and it wasn’t the best.
‘But they managed to water it and I’ve seen worse.
‘You can’t use the pitch as an excuse, there’s still a lot of work to be done.
‘We need minutes on the pitch.
‘The other games were a bit more laid back in a way.
‘Braintree were a bit more in our faces.
‘We would have been able to play a bit more at other grounds.
‘But it was a game to learn from and I think we weathered the physical side of things quite well.’
After two 45-minute outings against Hawks and Bognor, Devera got an hour under his belt at Cressing Road against Braintree last night.
The former Swindon man feels his sharpness is getting better each game.
Devera said: ‘I’m improving bit by bit.
‘There’s still a long way to go and a lot of work to do.
‘We’re still getting to know each other.
‘I’m settling in bit by bit and learning the patterns of play.
‘I feel I’m gradually getting there.’
Pompey’s pre-season attentions now turn to this Saturday’s game with Charlton at Fratton Park.
Devera is gearing up for his first taste of performing in front of the Blues faithful.
He said: ‘The fans have been loud wherever we’ve gone – now I’m looking forward to seeing them at Fratton Park.’