Break’s over as Pompey players return for training

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It took a mere 20 minutes for the balls to be tossed into Pompey proceedings.

As Joe Gallen had pledged, ball work was once again the dominant force during today’s pre-season return.

Louis Dennis arrived during the summer from non-league Bromley

Louis Dennis arrived during the summer from non-league Bromley

The morning opened with Kenny Jackett addressing his squad, among them five fresh playing recruits and a new first-team coach.

Then, from 10.15am, it was onto the training ground turf for pitch work beneath the searing summer sun.

And following the warm-up, involving running and stretching, the Blues’ squad swiftly moved onto shooting into small goals, followed by passing drills.

The session followed a similar routine to that introduced by Jackett last summer during his first day as Pompey boss on the training pitch.

Pompey new-boy Tom Naylor, left, and Ben Close

Pompey new-boy Tom Naylor, left, and Ben Close

In years gone by, players often never saw a ball until beyond the opening week, instead embarking on gruelling training runs.

Yet times have changed, with Jackett’s approach centring on different skill-sets.

There were 23 members of Pompey’s squad present at their Copnor Road base – effectively all those currently contracted to the club.

The sole absentee was out-of-contract Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain, who sustained a broken leg in April and continues his recovery.

But summer recruits Ronan Curtis, Louis Dennis, Craig MacGillivray, Tom Naylor and Lee Brown were in attendance.

As was Robbie Blake’s replacement as first-team coach, although the club are presently keeping his identity under wraps.

And there was also the return of fit-again Danny Rose, having been sidelined since December.

It’s official, the 2018-19 campaign has begun.