Pompey have revealed for the first time they want Jonathan Hogg back at Fratton Park.
But the Blues have admitted they are in Aston Villa’s hands in the chase for the combative midfielder.
Pompey are ready to step up their hunt for the player, who made a big impression on Steve Cotterill last season.
Blues chief executive David Lampitt stated the 22-year-old is now firmly on the agenda – either on loan or as a permanent recruit.
Hogg has made it clear he would be open to returning to Pompey, too, as revealed in The News on Friday.
But it’s down to Villa boss Gerard Houllier and his assistant Gary McAllister whether they see a future for him at Villa Park.
Hogg is looking for discussions to clarify whether he is wanted at the club.
He feels he is not likely to figure heavily there.
That would pave the way for him to return to Pompey, where he made 19 appearances after joining on loan in January.
Hogg has two years on his deal at Villa but would move south permanently if the chance presented itself.
Talks at Villa have been held up, with the focus there on agreeing a settlement with former boss Martin O’Neill, which was finally sorted last week.
Lampitt explained the Blues know the Premier League outfit hold all the cards when it comes to Hogg.
But Pompey would love to have him back as a temporary or fully-fledged player.
Lampitt said: ‘We were really pleased with the contribution Hoggy made during his time here.
‘We’re fully respectful of the fact he is an Aston Villa player, however.
‘That situation is the foremost issue for Jonathan.
‘It’s really down to Aston Villa as to whether there is any opportunity for him to be here next season.
‘Whether that’s in a loan capacity or in a permanent capacity, we would have to wait and see.
‘But it would be totally down to Aston Villa.’
Cotterill has been a frustrated figure as he waits for the proposed takeover by Convers Sports Initiatives to be completed.
But noises over that reaching a positive finale are now being made.
And that would release the shackles for some much-needed transfer activity.
Cotterill has two players lined up to arrive.
David Norris is one of those men, after leaving Ipswich, with the deal seen as finalised.
Pompey can’t announce that until any takeover is rubber-stamped, however.