Michael Appleton believes the trio of Pompey players who turned down a transfer deadline day move to Ipswich have extra motivation to perform tonight.
Jason Pearce, Joel Ward and Stephen Henderson were all linked with moves to Portman Road in January but, despite the financial crisis, all three stayed at Fratton Park.
The trio made it clear they did not want to move but the Blues boss believes they now have to prove why they opted against a switch to the Tractor Boys.
Appleton said: ‘You can talk about Ipswich and the three boys but as far as I’m concerned – and I’m probably exaggerating – you could have Manchester United interested in your players but if they don’t want to leave, they have the final say.
‘You can’t literally gag them, put them in the boot of your car, drive them to the club and make them sign.
‘I’ve not made a big deal of it but I’m sure they will want to show that they have made the right choice.
‘You could tell they had a sigh of relief on their faces once the window was shut.
‘We take it as a massive compliment as a club that, even under everything that’s going on and all the circumstances that have arisen over the past few months, that they want to hang around.
‘We must be doing something okay.
‘It may come up again if they try to make another offer or try to get them on some kind of loan agreement but as soon as the window was shut we moved on.’