Pompey have been handed mixed injury news over their beleaguered squad options.
Ricardo Rocha, Greg Halford and Hayden Mullins are all hopeful of returning for this weekend’s meeting with Cardiff.
But the Blues will have to wait to see if the clash with the Bluebirds arrives too early for Aaron Mokoena and Luke Varney.
Rocha is making good progress from his calf injury after limping off in the second half of the FA Cup defeat to Chelsea.
It’s a similar story for Mullins, who is carrying a calf strain after Saturday’s defeat to West Ham.
Greg Halford came off in the second half of the clash with the Hammers after soldiering on despite being laid low with diarrhoea. The defender has rested up since the game and is expected to be back on Saturday.
The news is less hopeful over Mokoena, though, who is struggling with a hamstring injury.
Mokoena was replaced after 33 minutes against West Ham and underwent a scan on Sunday, along with Mullins.
Varney has been building up his progress from the knee injury which has kept him out since the meeting with Burnley in December.
Michael Appleton will not rush the striker, though, with the smallest squad in the Football League hardly being able to take any setbacks.
The Pompey boss has praised his medical team for keeping his limited options at the best possible level.
Physio Steve Allen is confident there will be players returning to the fray.
He said: ‘Greg has been off because he’s been ill. But we’ve had Aaron, Luke, Ricardo and Hayden with us.
‘We are hopeful on Ricardo and Hayden for this weekend. We’ll wait and see on Aaron.’