Kenny Jackett will resist calling on some of his Pompey youngsters to help solve his defensive crisis.
The Blues entertain Crawley tonight (7.45pm) in the Checkatrade Trophy, with his options limited at the back because of injuries.
Nathan Thompson (head), Christian Burgess (calf) and Jack Whatmough (knee) are all absent, leaving Matt Clarke as his only recognisable centre-half in the first-team squad.
Drew Talbot and Oli Hawkins are on standby to fill in if Jackett decides not to risk Clarke, with Sunday’s game against Gillingham on the horizon.
In August, 16-year-old Joe Hancott was handed his Pompey debut in the competition against Fulham under-21s, with the teenager acting as cover at left-back.
But the Blues boss will resist the temptation to do so again, given the importance of the central-defensive position.
Jackett said: ‘It is a consideration, but not something I am going to do.
‘I don’t think there is anybody that close, I don’t think it would be fair to that particular player in his development.
‘We saw that in the first game with Joe.
‘He is a promising young player, but at 16 sometimes it is tough to handle that level of football.
‘It’s okay throwing them in but sometimes you can set them too much of a task and not help them.
‘We will deal with it within the senior group we have.’