Pompey boss Michael Appleton admits he could destroy his young players if he has to turn to the youth team to ease the burden on his squad.
The Blues boss has seen his squad stretched to breaking point this week ahead of today’s trip to Barnsley – and has even considered playing the whole youth team during the injury crisis to allow him to get his first team fit.
While he could be forced to delve into the youth ranks to help him fulfil the fixture list if the Football League will not sanction any emergency loan deals, Appleton knows it could wreck the development of the club’s youngsters if they are thrown in too soon.
Appleton said: ‘I’m not sure what the legal parameters are on playing the whole youth team.
‘We may be within our rights to field half a team and youth team players because of the position we are in with the injuries.
‘We just want the Football League to come up with a sensible solution. We’re not asking for favours and we haven’t got our begging bowls out – we’re just asking for common sense.
‘Psychologically, if you throw the kids in you could actually destroy them for a couple of months, so I have got to look after the whole integrity of this football club and how I go about it.’
He added: ‘I am not prepared to put young kids at risk like that.
‘Honestly, none are ready, apart from maybe Adam Webster. I am not sure if Sam Magri is ready 100-per-cent and that is why I have probably just had him as standby.
‘Hopefully, they have got a good future in the game but I genuinely feel that Adam is the only one who, if I had to throw in, I would throw in.’