Michael Appleton admitted he made an effort to bring Scott Allan back to Pompey as he gets set to face his former charge.
The Blues boss revealed he made an enquiry about bringing the midfielder to Fratton Park again as Appleton prepares to go up against the 20-year-old at MK Dons.
Allan, who made 15 appearances for Pompey and scored one goal while on loan from West Brom last season, could face his old side tomorrow after agreeing a temporary move to Karl Robinson’s outfit.
Appleton would have loved to see Allen in a royal blue shirt again – but simply couldn’t afford to fund a move.
Appleton said: ‘I’ve got a lot of time for Scott. We’d love to have him here but he’s at MK Dons at the minute.
‘He never quite went to Crystal Palace, who were also interested, because they couldn’t quite agree on things finances-wise.
‘And he was certainly out of our pay bracket when I enquired a month ago.
‘So they must be doing something right at MK Dons in terms of budgets – and fair play to them. They’ve got a good, good player and if he does play he’ll be desperate to do well.
‘He’s someone we’d have to keep an eye on massively.’
Allan has been on the bench for the past two games for his new side. Appleton believes some managers would have been put off making a move for the Scot because he is hard to accommodate in a line-up.
But the Pompey boss reckons Allen proved last season that nothing could be further from the truth.
‘He’s a good footballer. He’s one who sometimes would like a free role and that maybe scares a lot of managers,’ said Appleton.
‘I genuinely thought he could play in a 4-4-2 or 4-3-3.
‘I played him in numerous roles last season – I even sat him in front of the back four in one game because I knew the opposition would set up to deal with him behind the front men.
‘So he’s had the responsibility to take on different roles, whether it’s been on the right, left or in central areas.’