Nigel Atangana has declared himself ready for the next phase of his Pompey challenge.
The talented French midfielder joined the Blues from neighbours Hawks last summer and attempted to bridge the gap between the second tier of non-league football and League Two.
It’s my job to cause a problem for the gaffer because we have a lot of very good players in the middle of the parkNigel Atangana
He certainly showed some of his potential and made 30 appearances in the league, scoring one goal.
But after a bright start to his Fratton Park career, he suffered an injury and was then never able to fully establish himself and command a regular starting berth under former boss Andy Awford.
Now with a year’s worth of experience under his belt, he believes he can continue his progress at the professional level.
But his task looks even tougher this season with new boss Paul Cook’s embarrassment of riches in midfield.
The 25-year-old, however, believes he can provide the manager with a different option as he attempts to put a marker down in pre-season.
Atangana said: ‘It’s a big challenge but it’s the same for me.
‘Last season I was new to the club and new to the league so it was hard to get into the team.
‘Now I have more experience but there are a lot of very good midfield players who all want to play.
‘It was my first season in League Two.
‘But this season, I am feeling more confident and I expect to start more games in the league if I can really show what I can do.
‘It’s my job to cause a problem for the gaffer because we have a lot of very good players in the middle of the park.
‘I need to make him think and I will give everything to do that.
‘But I think I can give something different to the team.
‘I know this season is about improving for me.
‘So I need to show this manager exactly what I can do.
‘These games in pre-season are about fitness but it’s up to me to show my ability to him.’
Atangana was paired with Danny Hollands in central midfield and played the first half of the 1-1 pre-season opener at his former club.
But Pompey looked far better in the second half as they made 10 substitutions and switched to a 4-2-3-1 formation.
Atangana said: ‘We played 4-4-2 in the first half and 4-2-3-1 in the second half and you could see the difference with the shape.
‘Playing 4-2-3-1, it means we keep the ball better and we have good players who can do that.
‘The second half was much better. The shape was more suited to us.
‘When we were playing 4-4-2, we were trying to play longer balls for Matt Tubbs and Jayden Stockley.
‘But it was good to see us get the goal and it was a very good shot from Michael Doyle.
‘It’s always special to play at my former club.
‘It was a pleasure to play here again and I always enjoy coming back to see so many good friends.
‘I didn’t want to come back and lose.
‘Even if it’s a friendly, we don’t want to lose any game.’