Pompey have dismissed fears Bournemouth may cut short Wes Thomas’ loan spell.
But Michael Appleton has admitted he is already planning to be without the striker beyond his initial month-long stay.
Paul Groves was sacked by the Cherries on Wednesday.
His exit has raised concerns among Pompey fans that Thomas could be recalled to Dean Court by Groves’ eventual replacement.
However, Appleton has revealed the loan cannot be cancelled until after 28 days.
That means the 25-year-old will remain at Fratton Park for at least five more matches.
It has been a bright start to life at Pompey for Thomas, who will keep his place for tomorrow’s visit to MK Dons.
And Appleton would love to keep him longer.
The Blues boss said: ‘I have not heard anything from Bournemouth.
‘I am expecting a phone call from whoever goes in as the next manager but I’ll probably turn around and say Wes is playing rubbish!
‘Besides, he is going to have to be here the whole month because you can’t call him back anyway until after 28 days.
‘Wes will be here for 28 days, so we have still got him for another four or five games yet.
‘I am not counting my chickens with him staying beyond the month, although he fits into what we are about and we would like to keep him beyond that.
‘The likelihood of keeping him is a different question.
‘It will all come down to whether the player is actually enjoying himself.
‘It might be a scenario where he doesn’t want to go back. You physically can’t stop him going back but if you’ve got a player who doesn’t want to go back to the club then it is different.
‘That’s a question you have to ask the kid himself.
‘As long as he enjoys himself here, as long as he feels free and confident that he can show people what he is about and what he can do then great.
‘And, hopefully, he can continue in the same vein as he has done in the first two games.’
Regardless of Thomas’ Pompey future, the club are already looking at potential replacements.
Their options have also been bolstered by the return of Luke Rodgers to training yesterday.
The former Notts County man has recovered from his thigh problem and is now available for tomorrow’s match.
Appleton added: ‘The minute we got Wes we started recruiting in a month’s time to replace him, just in case.
‘That is part and parcel of doing your job right and we have put plans in place.
‘We don’t want to go too crazy, too soon.
‘The likelihood is we will get our hopes up on one player and then in three weeks time – when Wes has to go back – that player has already gone.
‘You have to get two or three targets in place.
‘Then, if a worst-case scenario happens and he does go back, we may have someone to slot in and replace him.
‘Still, Luke (Rodgers) trained yesterday morning so that’s another option.
‘It means if we cannot get what we think is the best replacement immediately at least there is someone there to step in.’