Drew Talbot is hoping to put a nightmare period behind him after his surprise Pompey return.
Talbot was named in the starting line-up for Kenny Jackett’s first game in charge of the Blues in Saturday’s win over Rochdale.
The 31-year-old admitted it’s been a horrendous period for him after finding himself out in the cold last season under Paul Cook.
Talbot said: ‘I’ve had a good pre-season and the manager’s been saying I’m doing well.
‘Last season, for whatever reason, I wasn’t playing. That’s down to the management staff.
‘I never lost confidence in myself, though.
‘And I was lucky enough to get my chance against Rochdale.
‘People may say things about the old gaffer but I have respect for him, even though I didn’t play for whatever reason.
‘It got me down for a long time, though. It’s been tough.
‘I didn’t get any explanation. I was training well but nothing happened.
‘I was trying to get out on loan but they rejected a few moves.
‘So I wasn’t sure what was going on but I never lost faith.
‘The manager said to get my head down and work hard – and I got my chance.’
The extent of how tough it’s been for Talbot is shown by the outing against Rochdale being his first Saturday appearance in nearly a year.
That was in the win at Exeter City at the end of August following his arrival on a two-year deal from Chesterfield.
It’s also the full-back’s first outing in nine months since appearing against Bristol Rovers in the Checkatrade Trophy last November.
Talbot said: ‘That’s possibly the first Saturday I’ve played in nearly 12 months. That’s not normal for me.
‘I’ve been fit but my last competitive game was Bristol Rovers in the Checkatrade Trophy.
‘That’s the last time I played for the club.
‘People were wondering what was going on – and I’ve been the same. But now the gaffer has put his trust in me and I did alright.’
Talbot shifted over to left-back after Tareiq Holmes-Dennis was withdrawn with a knee injury.
It was a dependable display which gives him hope of continued inclusion.
Talbot said: ‘Brett’s finishes were brilliant but if you keep a clean sheet you are always in the game.
‘You’ve got to take your chance.
‘I was given the chance and I was pushed over to left-back which I’ve always been quite comfortable with.
‘You put your name in the hat by doing okay.’