Ryan Bird got his first Pompey start under his belt and promised: I’m learning all the time.
Guy Whittingham handed the non-league hotshot his first minutes from the outset of a game at Torquay last night.
Bird was utilised up front, with Ricky Holmes operating in the hole behind him, in the Blues’ Johnstone’s Paint Trophy success.
The former Burnham talent was given a tough physical test against Gulls pair Krystian Pearce and Aaron Downes.
Bird admitted that provided a challenge as he grafted away at Plainmoor.
But he is loving the task of proving himself after moving from an electrician to being a full-time footballer.
Bird said: ‘It was hard work but I really enjoyed it.
‘Their centre-halves were strong and one of them was their man-of-the-match.
‘I felt I should have won more headers but I improved in the second half.
‘It was hard up there on my own but I felt we did well as a team.
‘It’s an education for me.
‘The defenders are a lot better.
‘They are a lot quicker and a lot stronger.
‘Sometimes they just grab hold of you!
‘I tried to spin at the near post at one stage and just got smashed!
‘So I’ve got a lot to learn.
‘I have to learn about staying away from them, peeling off them and movement.
‘I’m really enjoying it and I’m just trying to work as hard as I can.’
Bird had a couple of sniffs of goal against Alan Knill’s side.
But the striker is still waiting to get off the mark for Pompey.
He admitted he is analysing his work but remains confident he can fire goals for Pompey.
He said: ‘There were some chances for me.
‘We had a corner and it got clipped back in but I was stretching to reach it.
‘I should have hit it first time but I was stretching.
‘I also had a header from a corner in the second half but maybe jumped a bit early and was on my way down.
‘But I always look back and try to be critical.
‘I think I will be able to score goals here.’