Paul Cook has revealed Matt Tubbs’ desire for regular first-team football could see him depart Fratton Park.
The striker is back in full Pompey training having recovered from the ankle problem which sidelined him for two months.
However, last season’s League Two golden boot winner finds his path into Cook’s side blocked by the loan emergence of Marc McNulty and Caolan Lavery.
They have 10 goals between them, while Conor Chaplin (seven) and Adam McGurk (six) have been on the bench.
That competition for places from those, who have also demonstrated they are more suited to Cook’s preferred system, means Tubbs has a first-team fight on his hands.
And the manager conceded the 31-year-old, who is contracted until the summer of 2017, could well look elsewhere for his football.
At the minute I can’t keep Matty happy so something will give in the end, won’t itPaul Cook
‘Matty is back playing, he is fit, is obviously in the squads and what will be, will be,’ said Cook.
‘He wants to play football and if we can’t offer him football the likelihood is it will be somewhere else.
‘The one thing I do know is since I walked into the building he has been an absolute model pro, conducts himself terrifically well every day and is very much what I call a good lad, a good pro.
‘Whatever path he takes in the future it will be with our blessing and his blessing.
‘At the minute he is contracted to play for us, and if he was called upon tomorrow at Ipswich I have every confidence he would do what Matty Tubbs does.
‘It’s a watch this thing space with him and you must be respectful as there are two parties here.
‘But at the minute I can’t keep Matty happy so something will give in the end, won’t it.
‘He wants to play. In my opinion, if you have got anything about you then you want to play football.
‘Matty Tubbs wants to play football – there is nothing wrong with that.’
Pompey’s concern would be allowing Tubbs to leave for a fellow League Two promotion rival.
Strengthening opponents could weaken the fourth-placed side’s own aspirations of reaching League One.
But Cook has ruled out forcing Tubbs to stay against his will in order to deny others of his goal services.
He added: ‘When you have players you can stockpile them and I don’t see the point of that, we want a little bit more of a tighter group.
‘I wouldn’t be like that, I don’t see the point.
‘A club like ours could actually do that because we have such a strong fanbase, it gives you a financial backing.
‘But I want players to play football. You only get one career and I am not going to stop Matty Tubbs in the future – if he did leave the club – scoring goals because he has scored them all his life.
‘What I must make sure is we go on and have some kind of success for ourselves.’