Pompey winger relishing Fratton bow

Ricky Holmes. Picture: Paul Jacobs (131957-55)
Ricky Holmes. Picture: Paul Jacobs (131957-55)
Pompey's Gareth Evans. Picture: Joe Pepler

Evans: Player talk has lifted Pompey form

0
Have your say

Three pre-season fixtures on the road and a week away at a training camp.

But now Pompey return home – and Ricky Holmes can’t wait to sample those comforts.

The winger will get his first taste of Fratton Park in a royal blue shirt tomorrow as his new side take on Charlton.

Holmes believes it will be a useful exercise for him and the host of new faces at the club to experience their fresh surroundings.

He said: ‘I’m really looking forward to the game.

‘I don’t know if I’ll get the 60 minutes because I got the 60 on Tuesday but I want to play as big a role as possible.

‘But I’m really looking forward to playing at Fratton Park and experiencing the ground and the pitch.

‘We want to get used to it and be ready for August 3 – this is going to be a good exercise in that.’

Charlton represent a significant step up in quality from the three non-league opponents Pompey have faced in their warm-up games to date.

The Championship outfit are next in line ahead of a trip to Bournemouth and then a hugely-testing clash with La Liga pass-masters Rayo Vallecano.

Holmes knows that is going to equate to some serious hard graft in what is likely to be balmy conditions.

He said: ‘It’s always tough against these sides because you don’t see as much of the ball.

‘And if you haven’t got the ball you are working harder than if you have it. The aim of the game is to get it, keep it and make them work hard.

‘I’ve played Charlton in pre-season a few times.

‘They are a good passing team but I’ve always done well against them. Hopefully we can match them.

‘The games are getting harder which is good because we need it for our fitness.

‘You look at Charlton and then Bournemouth, the players they have signed, the players they’ve got and the way they keep the ball for fun.

‘Then we have got a team who finished eighth in La Liga!

‘I don’t know how much of the ball we’ll be seeing in that game but it will be a good test.’

Pompey’s training camp at Colchester today comes to a close ahead of tomorrow’s game with the Addicks.

The week at Five Lakes out in the Essex countryside has provided the Blues with a chance to get plenty of work under their belts with regular double sessions.

There has also been the opportunity for a new-look squad to get to know each other along the way.

Holmes believes working in fine surroundings, being able to focus on building fitness and getting to know team-mates has made the exercise a big success.

The former Barnet man said: ‘It’s a relatively small, young squad and we need a couple of more experienced boys.

‘It’s not a formality Portsmouth will win the league.

‘Portsmouth are such a big club from where they’ve been to where they are now.

‘But it’s no formality we will go straight up.

‘It’s going to take a lot of hard graft and we have to be putting that hard graft in now.

‘This is vital. There are a lot of new faces and the lads are coming together.

‘That spirit is going to be vital this year – being a small squad we will need to pull together.

‘It’s served its purpose and we’re all getting fit.

‘We’ve had the game against Braintree and came through that unscathed.’