Paul Cook is weighing up when to unleash Adam McGurk for a Pompey starting spot.
But the Blues boss remains wary of pushing the forward, who has not featured for the past six weeks.
Adam’s a very good professional and picked up a couple of injuries you wouldn’t expect him to pick up, it is part and parcel of the gamePaul Cook
McGurk made a welcome return to the squad during last weekend’s goalless draw with Mansfield after an ankle injury.
Although unused from the bench, it was the first team he had been involved since the stunning equaliser at Oxford United on September 19.
At the time the 26-year-old had begun to emerge as competition for the loan striker role.
Pompey head to Notts County tomorrow looking to build on their placing in second spot.
And the player with three goals in nine appearances since his arrival from Burton Albion is in the thoughts of Cook.
He said: ‘I wouldn’t have put Adam onto the bench (against Mansfield) if he wasn’t ready to go on.
‘Young Ben Tollitt hasn’t had a look at the first-team yet and is a very exciting player and that might give us something different in the final third, while Conor Chaplin hasn’t really played a lot as maybe a goalscorer of his calibre should at home.
‘We just keep working through the permutations.
‘With Adam, I don’t think people realise what a good goal return he has got for minutes on the pitch.
‘He is another one of our players that when you drop into the permutation probably wouldn’t be as good at keeping the ball as player A – but in terms of penetration will give you that edge.
‘He scored against Derby and Oxford, with the other coming against Barnet when Chaplin was also in the team which was the last game we scored goals at home.
‘Adam’s a very good professional and picked up a couple of injuries you wouldn’t expect him to pick up. It is part and parcel of the game.
‘But he has trained hard and had a lot of extension training. He’s had a really tough week and an easier morning yesterday because we don’t want to load up too much.
‘The pitches are getting heavier now, especially for the lads who played last week with three games. It can catch up with you quickly, you want to be fresh for the game.’
Injury also hampered McGurk’s involvement in the Blues’ pre-season programme.
Regardless, he has impressed during his early moments on the pitch for Cook’s side, starting five times.
And Cook admitted the Ulsterman’s unavailability had affected his team planning.
He added: ‘These lads want to play. Adam moves down to Portsmouth with his missus and family and doesn’t want a stop-start career, but the reality of football is that is what you get.
‘All clubs have injuries and suspensions. We have gone through it with Adam, Gary Roberts and Jayden. In that area of the pitch we are getting no continuity. Until we get the continuity in those areas we might not get the success that everyone wants.’