JED WALLACE has felt the buzz at the onset of a new season before.
And with a little over a week to go until the start of the campaign, that frisson of excitement is back.
But this time it’s tempered by a realism about the trials and tests which face Pompey over the next nine months.
No longer short-priced favourites for the title, with the bookies and expectations realistic – but still present.
With season-ticket sales topping the 10,660 sold last year, it’s clear fans are hopeful about the road ahead.
Now Wallace can’t wait to get Saturday’s dress rehearsal against Charlton out of the way and get the real thing started next weekend against Exeter.
He said: ‘It’s the last one for us this weekend now.
‘Roll on 5.30pm on Saturday and I can do a merry dance that pre-season has finished!
‘It’s been a hard one this season. It’s been really tough. We are in great shape and the work has been put in.
‘I just feel I’m champing at the bit now to get started.
‘I am and so are the rest of the boys.
‘It’s hard to understand what a big club this is until you play when our ground is full. Then you realise it’s the real deal.
‘We just need to keep our feet on the ground now.
‘We maybe got a bit carried away last season. This year everyone has excitement about the season – but it’s realistic excitement.
‘I just feel the dressing room is a good place to be. There is a bridge of experience between the young players and the older pros.
‘The experienced boys have really pulled the young ones up.
‘There are a lot of young players who are going to have to play this season – myself included.
‘I feel excited and just want to get the win in the first game.’
Pompey face a potentially frenetic opening with seven games in the first three weeks, if they beat Peterborough in the Capital One Cup.
Wallace believes that will be a chance for the team to show the work put into pre-season has paid off.
Wallace said: ‘We have a busy start. The squad is going to be important.
‘Straightaway, it’s Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday for the first three weeks.
‘It’s going to be everyone needed straightaway and we all have to do well when we get the chance.
‘I’ve always said you can have the best crowd. It doesn’t mean you will turn up and win the game.
‘This year, we need to carry on doing what we did last season – getting results by working hard.
‘People have questioned our fitness, but there was nothing wrong with our fitness at the end of the season when we walked all over everyone.
‘Right now we are in the right place to be able to carry it on.
‘If we carry on forcing teams into mistakes, the way we got the majority of our goals at the end of last season, I feel positive.
‘I can’t stress how excited I am about the season, bearing in mind how hard we’ve worked.
‘You have to be fit to do what we did.
‘I think about what a massive effort it was to do that last season, which is why squad depth is so important.
‘I wouldn’t be able to do that for 46 games at the level the manager wants us to play at. It’s impossible.
‘So the squad is important.’