Michael Appleton has pinpointed the Chris Maguire formula as the way forward for Pompey’s transfer policy.
Capped twice by Scotland, Maguire will go straight into the Blues squad for today’s clash at Brighton.
The 23-year-old, who scored against Pompey at Pride Park earlier in the season, will fill the gap created by captain Liam Lawrence’s departure for Cardiff last week.
Appleton believes it’s typical of the business he will have to carry out as Pompey fight for their Championship lives.
With the current wage bill in the region of a whopping £12.5m, Appleton has no desire to land the club in further financial strife.
So that means continuing with the one-out, one-in policy and bringing down costs.
Pompey were linked with a move for West Brom striker Simon Cox this week.
Appleton insisted he will have to work his magic by unearthing rough diamonds like Maguire rather than big earners like Cox, though.
And the reality is there will be more of the same before the close of the emergency loan window on March 22.
He said: ‘I have to keep finding little gems on next to nothing who replace experienced, quality players.
‘It’s okay people talking about Simon Cox but Simon Cox is on Premier League wages.
‘That’s the idea of going into administration.
‘The only reason we let Liam Lawrence and Erik Huseklepp go out is because they are high earners.
‘So we bring in young kids, who certainly aren’t high earners.
‘We can’t bring in anyone for the sake of it.
‘Certain players are out of my league and I’d say Simon is one of those because he’s a Premier League player on Premier League wages.
‘I can bring in anyone from the Championship and I’m looking at every scenario.
‘We aren’t even in the free transfer league at the minute.
‘We have to do things the right way.’
Appleton has already made it clear he expects more players to leave over the next two weeks with the likes of Stephen Henderson and Jason Pearce favourites to exit.
The 36-year-old is liaising closely with administrator Trevor Birch to walk the tightrope between the team staying competitive and keeping the club alive.
‘I can have an opinion (about players leaving),’ he said.
‘If it’s something I strongly feel about then I would say it but I’m also realistic enough to know the situation we’re in.
‘What I don’t want is to say “we are struggling if we lose this player” if that threatens the club with going out of business because then it’s me being selfish.
‘There’s so many different scenarios and it’s nice that people say I’m handling the situation well.
‘I have my own personal pride, though. I don’t like losing games of football.
‘I have my hands tied, feet tied and I’m gagged.
‘I’m buried 10 feet under ground but still trying to keep my head above water.
‘I know the situation but my pride and the players’ pride means we’re going to make it very difficult for teams in the next 12 games.’