DANNY HOLLANDS admitted he’s had to bounce back from his lowest ebb in football to resurrect his Pompey career.
And the midfielder is out to continue silencing the doubters who questioned his commitment to the Blues cause.
Hollands has lifted the lid on his torment after he failed to hit the personal highs of the previous season in last term’s struggles under Andy Awford.
The 30-year-old told how he lost his passion for playing the game as his form dipped in a disappointing campaign.
Hollands is now looking forward under Paul Cook with his fortunes revitalised.
He said: ‘Last season was probably the toughest time of my career. It was really tough.
‘I’d come in off the back of scoring goals, signing a deal and dropping down a couple of leagues.
‘It was tough when it didn’t happen and I wasn’t really playing in a formation I was enjoying.
‘I wouldn’t blame that on anyone, though, but it was frustrating. Really frustrating.
‘There were the times when it really, really got to me.
‘I didn’t want to train or play and it was hard.
‘I do care and I do care what people think. The most hurtful thing was people saying I wasn’t trying.
‘For me, I haven’t been blessed with the ability of other players, so I have to work at what I do.
‘From a young age it was drummed into me to keep my standards high like that and always give 100 per cent.
‘Every manager I’ve worked with has said I’ve trained hard and done that.
‘Last year was the lowest of the low, so I came out to try to prove people wrong.
‘As a team we didn’t do it last season. I still beat myself up about that now to this day.
‘But I’m part of a team moving forward now.
‘I’m happy to do what I do and be part of a half-decent team.’
Hollands has had to battle back into the picture this season after spending much of the campaign out of favour.
The former Chelsea trainee has now started eight games on the bounce, as he builds a sound partnership anchoring midfield with captain Michael Doyle.
‘Since I came back in we’ve lost one. I pride myself on that,’ he said.
‘If you’re winning games and the team is doing well that makes your job easier.
‘It’s a lot more enjoyable to play.
‘I’m enjoying it, but have to keep my head down and work hard because there are people waiting to come in.
‘They are good players who are pushing us in the right manner.
‘I can’t rate my form, but I’m enjoying playing.
‘The manager seems to think that I’m doing okay.
‘He’s been picking me lately, and, as long as he’s happy that’s the main thing.
‘I’m happy with how I’m doing, but there’s always room for improvement.’