Pompey are put through their paces

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POMPEY are out to pack a promotion punch.

And the Blues’ bid to be fighting fit for the new season stepped up a notch on Saturday as they swapped the beach for the boxing ring.

Johnny Ertl in action at Ballys Gym. Picture Ian Hargreaves (151167-6)

Johnny Ertl in action at Ballys Gym. Picture Ian Hargreaves (151167-6)

Bally’s Gym in Fratton offers rather less glamorous surroundings than Vale do Lobo in the Algarve, where Paul Cook’s new-look squad have just returned from a week’s bonding.

But League Two’s big hitters were out in force on Saturday morning as Ballys owner, professional trainer Michael Ballingall, put the squad through their paces.

Among the group undertaking an exhausting session of body sparring, bag work and circuits was midfielder Michael Doyle, who is set to be unveiled as Cook’s eighth summer signing today.

The 33-year-old former Sheffield United captain has put pen to paper on a one-year Blues deal.

The long-term target’s arrival at Fratton Park 
raises further questions over the futures of fellow midfielders Johnny Ertl and James Dunne, who were both left out of Pompey’s Portugal trip.

Ertl was among those receiving a testing 90-minute lesson in the noble art.

But Dunne, whose partner is expecting their first child, was absent.

For assistant manager Richardson, it proved to be a worthwhile session – even if some of the players were feeling a little worse for wear at the end.

He said: ‘It’s important to have a variety of fitness and training, especially in pre-season.

‘They certainly seemed to enjoy it – until they hit of a bit of a wall!’