FAVOURITE TAG FINE BY POMPEY STAR ERTL
BEING favourites for promotion is a burden Portsmouth can cope with, according to captain Johnny Ertl.
A string of financial woes has seen the 2008 FA Cup winners drop like a stone from the Premier League to the fourth tier, with Europa League visits from a Ronaldinho-inspired AC Milan now replaced by Johnstone’s Paint Trophy ties.
The Fratton Park faithful have embraced the new status forced upon them, with more than 16,000 witnessing a 1-1 draw with Wycombe last week when Ertl netted his first goal in a year.
“I think we will be there or thereabouts,” said the 31year-old. “I’d say the start we have made is about right in what we expected.
“You have to cope with that expectation here but I don’t think that’s too high. That will always be here because this is a huge club.
“We’ve made some new signings and we’ve had a decent start.We don’t need to make any judgements now. It’s only September.”
Pompey’s first season in League Two proved a baptism of fire, with an unbeaten seven-game run to end the campaign required to cement their League status.
But Ertl believes they have since made giant strides.
“Maybe some people thought we would walk this division, but that’s not realistic,” he added. “You’ve got to see where we’ve come from as club. Last year was difficult and this is the next step.
“This club is growing, getting things right behind the scenes with the training ground and everything else, but it takes some time.”