Michael Appleton has voiced his fears that his attempts to rebuild Pompey are still on ice.
The Blues boss was hopeful he would at last get the green light to start bringing in new players yesterday but heard nothing from administrator Trevor Birch and the club’s prospective new owners Portpin.
That has left Appleton without a single senior player in his squad ahead of Tuesday’s League Cup clash with Plymouth.
The Pompey boss said: ‘I had a discussion with them (Portpin) in the first week of May.
‘But the impression I get now is that the goalposts have changed in terms of that budget that was mentioned.
‘Everything depends on the budget that I am given.
‘If it goes through and the deal gets done in terms of the club, the owners have to come back to me with a budget.
‘I will then know what their realistic expectations are for the season – whether they want to go up, whether they want to be competitive or whether they just want to survive.
‘If I had 25 players in mind, I might get a budget where I can sign all 25 players.
‘But they might come to me with a budget that only allows me to sign maybe 12 or even fewer. Then I would have to start working out which ones.’
It’s a farcical situation for the Blues boss and he admits he could be forced to field a youth team in Tuesday’s encounter.
He said: ‘I would like to think I will be in a position on Monday morning to sign players.
‘I think the deadline is noon on Monday.
‘So if I can’t sign anyone, my only other option is to play the youth team. I’m not trying to be smart or to make a point but that is my only other option.’