Liam Lawrence admitted he’s grateful he’s been handed an extended summer break.
Lawrence has been told by Pompey boss Steve Cotterill he can return for pre-season training on July 8.
That’s a week later than the rest of his team-mates, who begin work for the new campaign at the start of next month.
Lawrence reckons that extra time will be needed as he is still on international duty for Republic of Ireland.
The Pompey captain insisted he believes he is in decent physical shape at present.
But he admitted he has had periods where he has been a long way from his best.
Lawrence said: ‘Pre-season training starts on July 1.
‘I have been given the option to return on July 8, and I think I will do that. I need those extra few days.
‘I haven’t stopped training since the end of the season. I have already had a month extra while the other lads have been off.
‘I feel fine now. At the end of the season I was sluggish and didn’t feel sharp, though.
‘Now I feel fit and I feel great.’
Lawrence is hoping to feature for the Republic of Ireland tonight as they meet Italy in a friendly in Belgium
He was left out of the Republic of Ireland squad for their Euro qualifier win over Macedonia on Saturday.
Giovanni Trapattoni’s men went on to pick up a 2-0 win in Skopje.
The 29-year-old felt he couldn’t moan about being left out.
But he is keeping his fingers crossed he will get some minutes under his belt tonight.
Lawrence said: ‘In my last game I didn’t play too well to be honest. I had no complaints when they left me out of Saturday’s squad.
‘Hopefully I can feature against Italy.’