Pompey kick-off their maiden Premier League Cup crusade tonight.
The Blues have been invited to field a side in the prestigious under-23 competition.
However, they will need to progress through two qualifying rounds to reach the group stage of the tournament – starting with tonight’s knock-out tie with Southend.
The Hawks’ Westleigh Park will host the fixture (7pm) with Pompey’s experimental side expected to include the likes of Gareth Evans, Adam Buxton and Liam O’Brien.
They are allowed to play three overage outfield players and an overage goalkeeper in the side and Academy coach Mikey Harris believes it’s a format suited to all parties.
He said: ‘This is something we felt could be beneficial across the board.
‘But the fact of the matter is if we lose tonight then that is the competition over.
‘I’d liken it to the Champions League format in there are 32 teams involved and we are in the pre-qualifying stages to get there.
‘If we get through to the group stages it is a national competition with three game at home and three away with a really high calibre of competition with Premier League and category one clubs involved.
‘It’s great because if there are overage players in need of a game or coming back from injury it gives them an opportunity to play.
‘Also the younger pros in the first-team squad who perhap need match minutes to keep themselves ticking over can also get it.’
Tickets are priced at £5 for tonight’s match, which kicks off at 7pm.