Burton boss Nigel Clough believes Pompey’s players might be ‘a bit rusty’ going into tomorrow night’s League One fixture at Fratton Park.
However, the former England front man isn’t for second thinking a team he believes are ‘promotion contenders’ this season will be there for the taking.
He anticipates coming up against a Blues side desperate to return to league action following an enforced League One break.
And with the Brewers heading into the game on the back of a goalless draw against leaders Coventry on Saturday, Clough's wary of the threat Kenny Jackett's side might pose as a result.
Pompey are yet to play in the league this month, with their last outing in the division coming in the 1-1 draw at Blackpool on August 31.
Since then they have played two Leasing.com Trophy matches – including Saturday’s 3-1 win over Norwich under-21s at Fratton Park.
Speaking to Derbyshire Live, Clough said: ‘There will be 18,000 there and they will be up for it after a couple of weeks without a League One game.
‘They might be a bit rusty which is why it was important for them to get a Leasing.com Trophy game in on Saturday.
‘But they also might be chomping at the bit as they can’t wait to get back to it, and with us having a hard game on Saturday we will have to be wary of that early on.
‘I also think, whatever start they have had, Portsmouth, like Coventry will be promotion contenders.
‘We want to keep the level of performance up, play like we did against Coventry and hopefully we will get a break.’
The Blues go into the game sitting 18th in the table with five points from five games played.
Burton, meanwhile, are six points better off in 11th.
They are unbeaten in six outings, with their last League One defeat coming against Rotherham on August 17.