For Ricky Holmes it had been an increasingly agonising seven-month wait.
But on Saturday the frustration finally lifted as the midfielder found himself back starting a league match.
And didn’t it just show in a tireless performance from the 25-year-old who earned a standing ovation as he left the field.
An injury at his previous club Barnet and Guy Whittingham’s preference for Jed Wallace have kept Holmes out of the first XI in the league since February.
It has left the wideman an impatient figure on the sidelines, craving his opportunity.
That came against Chesterfield, replacing Wallace on the right-hand side of midfield and putting in a man-of-the-match performance in the process.
Some may have been surprised over the manager’s decision to leave out Wallace.
But for Whittingham, the time had finally arrived for Holmes to be given his go.
He said: ‘Ricky has got a lot of energy and has had a lot of frustration put on him because he hasn’t played since February.
‘He has been frustrated because he wants to get in and play and believes in his ability.
‘And like everybody else he fought hard on Saturday.
‘It just shows we have good competition for places and it was a tough decision to leave Jed out.
‘But Jed knows as well there are high standards, higher than last year and we have to make sure we keep those up.
‘I feel Jed has performed well – as he reminded me, he had a hand in three of our goals before Saturday.
‘But he is learning the game and sometimes you want to leave people out so they can take a back seat and look at the game a bit more.
‘Plus I wanted to give Chesterfield something different to think about.
‘Teams look at how you play and they would have probably not expected Ricky to play at the weekend.’
Holmes’ only other Blues start since arriving in the summer was in the 1-0 Capital One Cup defeat at Bournemouth.
In terms of the league, he appeared as a substitute in two of the first four matches.
Then came his maiden League Two start for Pompey in the 2-0 defeat at Fratton Park.
Whittingham added: ‘He is more of a jinky player than Jed and will get on it and take people on.
‘Probably the only criticism I have got of him from Chesterfield is when he went through one-on-one with the defender in the first half and allowed him to tackle.
‘I was expecting him to go past him and slot it!
‘Still, I think every one of our players had a standing ovation because they deserved it for the hard work they put in.’