Ben Thompson will not be returning to Pompey until at least the summer.
That’s the fear of chief sports writer, Neil Allen, who feels the Blues face a real challenge to replace the midfielder if he returns to parent club Millwall.
Allen, in the latest edition of Pompey Talk, reckons a lack of playing time this season for potential replacement Ryan Yates is also a concern.
Thompson is set to return to the Lions after tomorrow’s FA Cup clash with Norwich with Kenny Jackett told he isn’t up for grabs permanently.
That could pave the way for Andy Cannon to attempt to fill the sizable void left by the 23-year-old.
Allen said: ‘He’s not sale. Millwall have made that very clear.
‘I know a lot of Pompey fans were saying put a bid in, well they made an enquiry and were told he’s not for sale.
‘If he doesn’t return this loan window, and it looks like he won’t unless there’s a sudden change of heart, Pompey won’t see Thompson until the summer at least.
‘Andy Cannon is cup-tied but they are looking for him to feature against Blackpool and could potentially replace Ben Thompson.’
Pompey target Yates has featured just once this season for Forest, but Allen pointed out the 21-year-old being named on his side’s bench on New Year’s Deal is potential bad news for Jackett.
Allen added: ‘There’s the Ryan Yates one which has been dragging on and they were hoping to get it tied on early on.
‘He’s on the bench against Leeds and Forest won 4-2. He wasn’t used but is suddenly part of the first-team set-up.
‘He’s made one appearance all season and it’s changed there.
‘Pompey are pursuing him but he was on the bench for Forest on New Year’s Day.
‘Does that change things? Because he’s suddenly part of the squad.
‘There’s an issue there, because if you bring in Yates he’s played once all season.
‘It’s all very well saying he’s played in the under-23s but he needs to get up to speed.
‘Ben Thompson feels he’s played the best football of his career but even he felt rusty coming in.
‘It’s about how Pompey handle it.’