Michael Appleton tipped Marko Futacs to become the Blues’ impact man and insisted: You’re going nowhere.
The Pompey striker has clambered up the striking pecking order under Appleton, seemingly muscling in ahead of both Kanu and Benjani in recent weeks.
Having ousted veteran Nigerian Kanu from the substitutes’ bench, the 21-year-old got the nod to come on ahead of Benjani in the south coast derby last weekend.
But while Appleton has hinted he would be keen to let the giant Hungarian go out on loan to gain experience, the lack of squad depth means Futacs is staying put at Fratton Park for the foreseeable future.
Appleton said: ‘At the minute, my squad isn’t big enough to start letting players out on loan.
‘With Marko, he is a young player who finds himself right in the middle.
‘He’s not a youth-team player and he’s had the odd game.
‘He finds himself in that development group but he is someone who has impressed me since I’ve been here.
‘He is someone who could be an impact player for us and might get more of an opportunity sooner rather than later.’
Futacs is perhaps one of the players who has suffered most from the decision by Steve Cotterill to scrap the reserve team.
While it was understandable at the time, with Pompey’s squad so short of numbers, the progression from youth team to first team has become that much harder.
And those caught in between rarely get the opportunity to play in competitive matches.
Appleton has already indicated he is looking to restore the reserves, depending on the current financial situation being resolved at Pompey.
And while Blues fans have only caught brief glimpses of Futacs so far, Appleton has seen enough potential in training to think the 6ft 5in former Werder Bremen striker’s chance will come over the next few weeks.
The Pompey manager said: ‘The past couple of weeks in training he has been very good and applied himself really well.
‘He has an understanding of what his strengths and weaknesses are.
‘He’s a big, strong boy and he likes to play with his back to goal.
‘But if you can get him into the areas we want him in – 25 yards from goal in central areas – and if he can get half a yard or pin a defender, he’s got a fantastic shot on him.’
Dave Kitson has operated as Appleton’s lone striker in his revamped formation.
However, there is a frantic run of fixtures over the festive period which will be a big test for the Blues squad.
And while Appleton’s opinion may change if he can recruit another striker in January, for now, Futacs is very much in the frame.
Appleton said: ‘He got on against Southampton instead of Benjani.
‘But it might be a different scenario this weekend if he’s on the bench again.
‘Kanu didn’t get in the squad last weekend and I went with Marko instead.
‘That may change over the coming weeks and it might not.’