Kenny Jackett admitted Conor Chaplin and Kyle Bennett have been ruled out of tonight’s reserves clash at Everton because of the injury situation at Fratton Park.
Mark Kelly’s side take on the Toffees’ under-23s in the Premier League Cup at Goodison Park, with the majority of the squad made up of academy players.
The game would have been an opportunity to hand valuable game time to Chaplin and Bennett, as both have lacked first-team opportunities recently.
But Jackett revealed he cannot risk further injuries to any of his senior players.
The Pompey boss said: ‘We haven’t got the numbers, unfortunately, for us to be able to do that.
‘It’s something we would have liked to (have done) but we haven’t got the numbers to cover the first-team situation.
‘We cannot risk any more injuries to first-team players.’
Bennett was a key figure in the Blues’ League Two title-winning team last season but has struggled to nail down a spot in Jackett’s line-up this term.
The former Doncaster forward has been an unused substitute in Pompey’s past three games and is yet to register a single goal or assist this campaign.
Nevertheless, Jackett has been pleased with Bennett’s attitude and believes he can still be an attacking threat.
‘Kyle’s attitude around the training ground has been good,’ the Blues boss added.
‘Although he hasn’t had much game time lately – like Conor Chaplin – I wouldn’t hesitate to use either of them.
‘Kyle has had games in the no10 role where he has caused problems, but the end product hasn’t quite been there.
‘He’s saying to me if he gets one he could get on a run of goals. He is a very positive lad and somebody, along with Chaplin and Alex Bass, who haven’t had many minutes.
‘He’s had chances (to score) and has been unlucky with some of those, but he is in my thinking, definitely.’