Danny Hollands revealed he has no problem with the physical nature of League Two football after his baptism of fire at Newport County.
The on-loan Blues midfielder was the target of one horror tackle from Adam Chapman in the 2-1 win last weekend and was also clattered in first-half stoppage-time as Darcy Blake picked up the first of his two yellow cards.
Having come from Championship club Charlton, Hollands could have been forgiven for wondering what he’s let himself in for.
But the Pompey new boy is prepared for more of the same tomorrow as he is set to make his home debut in the Hartlepool clash – although it seems unlikely they will be anywhere near as aggressive as Newport.
Hollands said: ‘It doesn’t matter what league you are in, you are going to get challenges.
‘It’s part and parcel of the game and it’s what I enjoy.
‘I like a good old battle. I certainly don’t mind putting my foot in and giving a bit back.
‘For that first one last week, I must admit I was a bit worried when I went in for it. I didn’t even go in for it.
‘The referee had already blown for the free-kick and I just went to control the ball and the lad hurled himself in.
‘I think he just had a bit of a head loss and there wasn’t anything against me.
‘But, potentially, it could have been a lot worse than it was.
‘Thankfully, I wasn’t injured.
‘I kind of saw it coming so if I wasn’t looking that way, I could have been in a lot more trouble.
‘I just about managed to get my leg out of the way but he still caught me.
‘The second one wasn’t that bad.
‘A few people said it looked worse than the first one but I was just stretching and nicked it away.
‘I saw him coming again so that helped.
‘One of their players said that he thought that was worse than the first one.
‘But the first was the worst one.’
Having experienced the fervent backing from the away support last weekend, Hollands is rubbing his hands at playing at Fratton Park – a ground where he has watched games but not played before.
He said: ‘I’m really looking forward to playing at Fratton Park.
‘I’ve been there to watch games before and the supporters are phenomenal.
‘Even at Newport, having those away fans behind us was something else.
‘Playing in front of those fans week in, week out will be an honour.’
The former Chelsea trainee is now determined to help Pompey build on their impressive result as he drew similarities with last week’s opponents.
Hollands said: ‘It was great to get that win but we need to build on that now.
‘Hartlepool are similar to Newport in where they are in the table.
‘So there is no reason why we can’t be positive and I feel that we have enough to go and beat them as well.
‘The performance at Newport was a bit nervy at the end but because results haven’t been good, you are bound to get that.
‘The more you win games, the more comfortable you become in seeing games out.’