Mark Catlin insists the ball is in Sheffield Wednesday’s court as Pompey continue to eye a Caolan Lavery reunion.
The Blues have not given up hope of bringing back the striker who made such an impressive Fratton Park impact earlier this season.
Realistically, however, a new loan agreement is looking increasingly unlikely.
The crucial sticking point is understood to be at the Sheffield Wednesday end, centring on Lavery being out of contract this summer.
Despite clearly not having a future at Hillsborough, the Owls are eager to tie the 23-year-old to a new deal to enable them to receive a future transfer fee.
Failure to do so and Lavery will instead attract a development fee from any club he subsequently joins, representing a significantly smaller amount.
In the meantime, Pompey are continuing to monitor the situation of a forward who netted four times in 13 matches before returning to the Championship club at the start of January.
Although, perhaps crucially, Paul Cook has since recruited Michael Smith to bolster his strike options, taking his squad tally to five loanees.
Yet Pompey’s chief executive won’t rule out the possibility of securing Lavery’s services before the March 24 end of the emergency loan window.
Catlin said: ‘The ball is in their court, as it has been for a while.
‘Paul has looked to bring back Caolan and, backing our manager as we always do, we have explored that option.
‘However, it is entirely down to the player, his agent and the club.
‘Let’s not forget, this is Sheffield Wednesday’s player and they can handle him as they see fit.
‘We haven’t given up hope of bringing Caolan back, but it has proven to be difficult.’
In terms of loanees at Fratton Park, in addition to Smith there are Marc McNulty, Ryan Fulton, Matt Clarke and Kieron Freeman.
All five started last weekend’s disappointing 1-0 defeat to Leyton Orient.
With five loanees allowed in a match-day squad, another addition would tip the Blues over the edge.
However, Smith’s 93-day loan expires before the final match of the campaign against Northampton.
The striker, who scored for the reserves on Tuesday, would also be absent should there be any play-off fixtures for the Blues to fulfil.
Smith’s deal was not the conventional window-to-window loan.
Instead the 93-day arrangement has been employed to negotiate the fact the 23-year-old has already played for Swindon and Barnsley this season.
Meanwhile, Matt Tubbs is one of three players to be on loan away from Fratton Park.
Eastleigh’s striker joins Paul Jones at Crawley and Jack Whatmough at the Hawks.