Kenny Jackett has admitted Conor Chaplin wants a fresh start away from Fratton Park.
But Pompey’s boss insisted the striker is under consideration for Saturday’s League One opener against Luton.
The 21-year-old had been lined up for a switch to Coventry, only for the potential move to falter due to the Blues’ lengthy hunt for a replacement.
Jackett confirmed there remains interest in Chaplin, although the Sky Blues have declared they are now focusing elsewhere.
And although the popular player craves a transfer to give him regular football, Pompey will not budge from their current stance.
Jackett said: ‘It has been tough for Conor, although he has trained hard in pre-season and works very hard in training.
‘For him, a fresh start is something he wants and I can understand it and have sympathy for his situation.
‘But similarly, from my point of view, it’s not a good time to be weakening your forward line if you can’t bring somebody in.
‘We have actively tried to make the right deals happen, but that hasn't been the case and the frustrating thing is most of the players we’ve enquired about have gone up into the Championship, which is interesting, it shows we are on the right lines.
‘But for Conor, obviously, it is a frustrating time and he does want a fresh start.
‘I have sympathy for his situation, but similarly it’s not the time to weaken our forward line and forward options.
‘His attitude around the place has been very good, he’s popular with the other players and recognises he has to train hard – whether for us or somebody else whatever his future may be.
‘There is interest in him, definitely. If we can get the centre-forward I feel can take us forward then I am fine with it.
‘If we can’t then I just have to carry on with my stance that Portsmouth cannot be weaker out of the deal.’
During the long-running saga over Chaplin’s future, he has continued to feature in pre-season friendlies.
And he is also an option to partner Brett Pitman in attack against Luton at Fratton Park on Saturday.
Jackett added: ‘If he earns the shirt then no problem, as long as we are successful I don't mind.
‘He can 100-per-cent earn the shirt.
‘He is part of the squad, part of the group, he is competing at present to be part of a front two.
‘I haven’t excluded Conor from the group because, quite frankly, it’s not something that I would like to do.’
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