JAMAL LOWE welcomed a stiff test for Pompey’s pre-season opener.
The Blues are set to be given their first run-out of the summer on Monday when they face League of Ireland side Cork.
And the Rebel Army will be a tricky assignment for Kenny Jackett’s men.
Cork are top of the pile in the premier division and have lost just three times in the league this season.
They are also deep into their campaign, while Pompey returned to training on Wednesday.
Lowe is relishing the change for the squad to build team spirit on their Irish training camp – and be given a sturdy challenge by their opponents.
He said: ‘I’m looking forward to it. I’ve never been to Ireland.
‘It’ll be a chance to do some bonding and all the new boys will be feeling comfortable after that week. It should be good.
‘We’ve got a game on the Monday, which will be nice and quick.
‘You want to get in as many games as possible.
‘The games are key and it’s good to have one straightaway to blow away the cobwebs.
‘They’re going to be full-flowing, too, so it’s going to be a good test.’
Lowe believes he returned in a good position to make a strong start in pre-season when he joined up with his team-mates this week.
He added: ‘You always have to tick over.
‘I’m making sure I am ready to hit the ground running.
‘It’s nice to have a little break but then you want to get back to it.
‘We’re given a programme depending on what are our targets. Some will want to put on weight or get stronger and faster.
‘It’s whatever is specific to what you’re trying to do.
‘I’m looking to get stronger, quicker and faster. That’s my aim.
‘I’ll continue analysing my game, too.
‘You have to give yourself the best chance. It’s all those little percentages which add up to the end result.’
– JORDAN CROSS