David Lampitt remains hopeful that Pompey can quickly resolve the contractual issues surrounding Richard Hughes and Michael Brown but insisted: We have to be sensible.
With both midfielders nearing an appearance-related automatic clause entitling them to new contracts, the Pompey chief executive has been in negotiations to find a compromise which would enable the duo to continue playing for Steve Cotterill's side.
As it stands, both players can make just one more appearance in the matchday squad without triggering new deals on salaries that Pompey cannot afford and could be left in limbo.
But Lampitt is hopeful he can find a compromise agreement with Hughes and Brown as quickly as possible.
He explained: 'There is no prospect of us allowing those contract clauses to trigger – we have been quite clear about that with the players as well.
'We have got to stand our ground to protect the interests of the club.
'We will keep trying to reach a sensible middle ground. So far that has not been reached but we may yet reach it and discussions are ongoing.
'We will keep trying to do that and we will keep trying to resolve it.
'It's not really about playing hardball.
'But it's my job to make sure that the club is being run on a viable basis and that sometimes involves making some tough calls.
'It's just a legacy of just one of a number of problems that we've inherited and it's my job to iron them out as best as we can.'
Cotterill's squad is already stretched to the limit.
But David James waived his right to an automatic contract extension last season and Lampitt believes both players are also eager to find a reasonable solution.
He said: 'They could just stay and pick up their pay packet without playing but I don't think they would want to do that.
'There are a number of outcomes that could yet happen and we hope to resolve it.
'I have absolutely no complaints whatsoever about the negotiations with the players and their representatives – they have been done in the right way and they have every right to protect their own interests.'
Lampitt also refuted suggestions that Pompey should have tried harder to bring in another loan signing before the closure of the emergency transfer window.
He said: 'We were keen to bring in another player before the loan window closed because we knew this period could be coming.
'The board approved a loan for a flexible midfielder because we knew we might get into a tight spot, but it didn't come off, so we then had to make a call on whether to bring someone in to make up the numbers, possibly for a couple of games.
'But we took the view that the club's money was better utilised in other ways.'