Joe Gallen believes Louis Dennis will be itching for a League One opportunity after his man-of-the-match display.
The Pompey forward picked up the accolade during Tuesday night’s 3-2 victory over Tottenham Hotspur under-21s in the Checkatrade Trophy.
Making his Fratton Park debut – and just his second Blues appearance – Dennis caught the eye against Spurs.
He won the free-kick which lead to Gareth Evans’ goal in the 69th minute, while he drove at the visitors’ defence with pace on several occasions.
The 26-year-old has been forced to remain patient since arriving at Pompey from non-league Bromley in May.
He’s yet to feature in League One and made the substitutes’ bench on only three occasions.
Gallen admitted Dennis has found it difficult being on the periphery of Kenny Jackett’s squad.
But the ex-Barnet ace is someone the Blues’ assistant boss regards as a natural finisher.
Gallen said: ‘Louis Dennis has got a lot of talent and I think he is itching for an opportunity.
‘Around the box, when the ball drops to him, he moves the ball so freely and naturally and drops a few shoulders.
‘He’s a natural finisher and has got a lot of talent around the box.
‘We had a lot of new players come in during the summer and Louis’ the only one who hasn’t started regularly.
‘It’s not been easy for him – he’ll say that himself.
‘Overall he’s trained very well and played well in the reserve games that we have put on.
‘He’ll be glad he’s got out and played a full 90 minutes because he hasn’t had that.
‘It was his first game at Fratton Park and will be delighted to have got out there and feel part of it.’
Pompey’s table-topping form has restricted Dennis’ involvement.
Oli Hawkins, Ronan Curtis, Jamal Lowe and Gareth Evans have been the manager’s favoured attacking quartet. They have plundered 25 goals between them.
On the bench, the likes of Brett Pitman, Joe Mason and David Wheeler have been ahead in the pecking order.
Regardless, Gallen has told Dennis to be ready for when called upon.
He added: ‘Make no mistake, Louis’ got a lot of talent.
‘It’s just that there’s been people ahead of him who are not letting go of the shirt and it’s tough to change the team around when it’s going so well.
‘It’s been tough for him, no doubt. But’s he’s professional footballer, he gets paid by Portsmouth and gets paid to be ready.’