Jack Whatmough believes Pompey’s first signings of the summer will be hungry to make the grade in the Football League.
Ronan Curtis and Louis Dennis penned two-year contracts at Fratton Park last week.
The duo both move to the Blues from outside the Football League.
Curtis is departing League of Ireland outfit Derry City for an undisclosed fee – believed to be a fee in excess of £100,000.
The 22-year-old’s switch will be completed when the international transfer window opens on June 9.
Meanwhile, Dennis joins on a free after shining for Bromley.
The attacker bagged 22 goals and 13 assists in all competitions for the National League club as they reached the FA Trophy final last term.
Although fans aren’t too familiar with the pair, Whatmough insists Curtis and Dennis will have a burning desire to succeed at Pompey.
The centre-back feels signing players off the beaten tracks gives the Blues ‘a bit extra’ as they have an appetite to thrive in the Football League.
‘I was just leaving the gym when Louis Dennis was coming to sign,’ said Whatmough.
‘I haven’t met any of them yet but that’s what’s exciting about pre-season.
‘You get to see the new faces, seeing all the boys and catch up on what you did in the summer.
‘Those players want to be given that opportunity to play in the league and as soon as they come they don’t want to disappoint.
‘They want to prove that they’re able to play in the league.
‘As soon as they come, they want to prove that they’re able to play in the league.
‘It’s always healthy to come in because they give you a bit extra than what they actually have themselves.
‘They want to prove they’re good enough.’
Oli Hawkins was Pompey’s last signing from non-league football.
The striker moved to the Blues from National League side Dagenham & Redbridge in August 2017.
In his maiden Fratton Park season, he scored eight goals in 42 appearances.
He also acted as a makeshift centre-half when Jacket was short of defensive options because of injuries.
Whatmough saluted Hawkins’ impact and reckons it shows signing players from outside the Football League can be a policy that bears fruit.
And, after having the past few weeks off following the end of the campaign, the Gosport talent is itching to get back to action when the Blues return for pre-season.
Whatmough added: ‘I think the policy works.
‘You look at Hawks who came in.
‘Hawks was the last one we signed from non-league football and look at the season he had.
‘He was unbelievable last season.
‘I’m looking forward to working with the new boys who have come in and the boys from last season.
‘I’m looking forward to seeing them because you do miss it after about a week or two.’