Kenny Jackett has revealed his substitute thought process.
The Pompey boss has given an insight into the factors he considers when making changes to his side from the bench.
Jackett has opted not to use all three of his substitutes in the past three Blues outings – and his past four league games.
With form dipping in that time, some fans have questioned why Jackett doesn’t introduce a third player as they chase a result.
The Pompey boss explained there are a number of factors he considers when weighing up substitutions.
Among them are whether to make double changes, as has often been the case in recent weeks.
The meetings with Rotherham, Scunthorpe and Chelsea under-21s are examples of that approach in January.
Jackett feels giving the existing players on the pitch a chance to make an impact and leaving the right cover for certain eventualities are other factors to consider.
He said: ‘Not using all three subs is not any deliberate thing.
‘In terms of back four players – and our back four has done okay – you tend to carry on with them.
‘Quite a number of times our subs have dovetailed as well.
‘There have been a number of occasions where four or five subs (named) are unlikely to get on anyway.
‘You’re also looking at ones to cover. Particularly late in the game, if the game is close, you have to cover for going down to 10 men.
‘Also it’s a balance between putting on substitutes and getting fresh legs on the pitch.
‘But you also want to give players, particularly forwards, the chance to be on the pitch late in games to get the goals.’
Jackett has chosen to use all three of his subs on 15 occasions this season from Pompey’s 36 games.
The Blues boss outlined it is not always as simple as throwing on bodies from the bench to chase games or protect leads.
Jackett said: ‘Throwing on bodies is not always the way to go.
‘The right or wrong in football, though, is the result. If you lose that’s it.
‘In terms of substitutions it’s the balance of fresh legs, being able to change it – and backing the players who are on the pitch.
‘I think balance and structure of the side is very, very important.
‘That’s whatever stage the game is.’
– JORDAN CROSS