Pompey are ready for a test of their physical credentials as they travel to Rochdale.
And Kenny Jackett has underlined his men will have to show they are ready to fight fire with fire if they are to come through the latest test of their promotion ambitions at Spotland.
Pompey make the long trip up the M6 to take on Keith Hill’s unfashionable side, who have seen their results pick up after adopting a more direct approach in recent weeks.
Jackett knows what to expect as his team aim to make it 10 games unbeaten, and eclipse the nine-game unbeaten start produced by Harry Redknapp’s Division One champions in the 2002-03 season and Paul Cook side in 2015-16.
He said: ‘Every game is a test and Rochdale have a good manager who make it difficult for you. They will make sure you compete.
‘You can say that about the majority of clubs, particularly early in the season when there’s a good spirit about them.
‘They will be high energy and have the majority of their players fit.
‘At the moment every game is a test and each point will be hard earned – and Rochdale will be no different.
‘We’re going there looking to win. We don’t expect anything – we know we have to earn it.
‘We’re going to look to win the game as we always do and looking forward to it with optimism.’
Despite knowing about Rochdale’s threat, Jackett stressed his focus has been on what Pompey are capable of achieving this week.
He added: ‘I’m aware of their strengths and they were in the league last year.
‘There won’t be a lot of surprises going into the game and both sides will know the other’s strengths and weaknesses.
‘A good assessment of the opposition is important but not everything, it’s only a small percentage of getting it right.
‘After that you have to improve yourself and concentrate on your own team. That’s where I’ve been this week in the run-up to this game.’