Jack Whatmough is pencilled in for a return to Pompey full training next month.
Kenny Jackett has revealed the defender is well ahead of schedule following cruciate ligament damage to his knee in September.
Presently the 21-year-old is running outside and taking part in kicking and heading drills, closely monitored by club medical staff.
Jackett believes Whatmough can move on to participating in full training in February if he maintains his encouraging progress.
However, he still faces a battle to play for Pompey before the Saturday, May 5 finale against Peterborough.
Jackett said: ‘Jack is looking towards February. It is way ahead of schedule and he is outside and working well, although his return does depend on what happens between now and then.
‘Hopefully he can return to full training at some stage in February. A precise time is difficult to pinpoint.
‘Jack has worked hard and is outside running with the physio, striking balls and heading them out of the box as only Jack can.
‘The season might run out on him slightly but even so it shows the recovery is good, which is the main thing.’
Whatmough started Pompey’s opening seven matches of the campaign before succumbing to injury against Rotherham.
It represented his longest run in the side since a previous knee ligament problem in March 2015.
The Gosport youngster was last summer handed a fresh two-year deal after impressing Paul Cook during the League Two title run-in.
However, injury once again halted his encouraging progress during this season’s 1-0 defeat to Rotherham.
But Whatmough has worked hard to fight back from his latest setback.