Pompey in a 'painful' position
The Championship kick-off is less than two weeks away and much of the opening day focus will be on the Ricoh Arena, not for Coventry City of course but for their first opponents Portsmouth.
Any hope that relegation would bring about a clean slate on the south coast have been destroyed by another turbulent summer in which the Pompey squad has gradually been whittled down to what even Harry Redknapp would be justified in describing as 'the bare bones'.
Off the pitch the club are yet to reach agreement with creditors over their financial woes.
New boss Steve Cotterill was touted for the Sky Blues job at the start of the summer but instead finds himself with one heck of a task on his hands to turn around fortunes at Fratton Park.
His mood has not been helped by a nightmare tour of North America which culminated in a hammering by DC United and a myriad of travel problems.
'It took us 27 hours to get from Edmonton to Washington. We could have flown from England to Australia in that time,' said Cotterill.
'We were okay for 20 minutes against DC United but after that we were shot. The next 70 minutes were very painful and hard for the players.'
At the present rate the visitor's dug-out on Saturday 7th August is unlikely to have its full complement of substitutes and Cotterill sounded a fearful note for his side's prospects.
'The one thing is that it's shown the position we're in. It's painful. We've got some good honest senior lads here and some youngsters who are trying their hardest.
'The kids have got to be at full tilt to be anywhere near the team and we're going to be playing in a man's league in a couple of weeks' time.'
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