Paul Cook believes Pompey can compete for promotion after being handed his player wage budget.
The Blues boss has been given a £3m kitty to pay his team’s wages as he aims to get out of League One next term.
It’s a below-average budget for the third tier, with that amount not allowing for fees spent on new recruits.
The figure is outlined in Pompey’s executive statement which forms part of the ‘Proposed Sale of PST Shares’ pack sent to Pompey Supporters’ Trust members last week.
It’s a step up from this season’s playing budget of £2.4m but falls below the £3.3m average for the division.
The figure would also be likely to change if American billionaire Michael Eisner completed his proposed takeover of the club.
Despite the budget falling below the league’s average, Cook doesn’t see that as a barrier to his team being competitive next season.
Cook said: ‘Talking about budgets is not really for me to talk about.
‘It’s not for me to engage in. That’s the truth. That’s for everyone else to talk about.
‘Nowadays, if you want to go up in leagues it costs money. I think everyone knows that.
‘But it’s not for me to get involved in debates about it.
‘That’s what they reckon (it will be a lower-mid-table budget). It doesn’t mean we can’t go up. That’s the truth.
‘If we go out and spend money we’ll see but it’s really not for me to get involved in talk about that.
‘What’s clear is we are going to have to work.’
Cook is also planning discussions with his players to discuss their futures.
The Pompey boss will do that before announcing his retained list.
The 50-year-old is expecting some honest talks to take place over the extent of the squad members’ involvement moving forward.
Pompey have 16 players out of contract this summer, although Cook is still preaching his message of loyalty.
Cook explained discussions will be forthright when talking about some players’ playing prospects.
But he is happy for those talks to be a two-way street.
Cook said: ‘I’d keep all of them. The loyalty that we have to our players is there.
‘There will be discussions with many of them about what the future holds.
‘Sometimes you make a decision together over whether they will play every week, or will they be first choice.
‘Some of the lads might want to move on to play but I don’t think there will be any shocks in what we do.
‘It will be when we have spoken to players. That’s the thing.
‘But I’d imagine the retained list will be announced then.
‘Whether they want to stay will be up to them. That’s exactly it.
‘That honest discussion comes through what does the future hold for them.
‘What positions are we looking to strengthen in? Where does that leave players?
‘So to speak to the players first is important.’