The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE -

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.”

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