The Fratton faithful haven’t seen the last of Adam Webster in Pompey’s side this season.
That is the view of Paul Cook, who has selected Matt Clarke ahead of the youngster from West Wittering in recent weeks.
Ipswich loanee Clarke returned to the starting XI against Notts County last month.
It has coincided with a run of three-consecutive victories, with only one goal conceded.
No reflection on Webster, who has enjoyed his finest Fratton Park season to date since a first-team debut in January 2012.
The 21-year-old has made 34 appearances and scored twice in a campaign which has also attracted admiring glances from other clubs.
But Clarke is currently partnering Christian Burgess in the centre of the Blues defence.
And Cook believes it is testament to the strength of his squad.
He said: ‘Perhaps people haven’t picked up Webster being out of the team, that is how strong the squad is.
‘Matt Clarke and Christian Burgess played the first nine league games together when we were unbeaten and it’s just little cycles.
‘Adam Webster has played more games consecutively than he ever has done in his life and he needed that break.
‘We are now lucky in that we have Webster champing at the bit to get back into the team.
‘I always think that competition for places is healthy.’
Before omitted from the side for the 4-0 win over Notts County, Webster had featured in 27 of the Blues’ previous 30 fixtures.
Clarke has now made 30 appearances and proven to be an impressive temporary recruit.
– NEIL ALLEN