Drew Talbot is closing in on a Pompey return by the end of the month.
The summer recruit hasn’t featured since August having torn his hamstring during a training session.
Yet, encouragingly, the 30-year-old is continuing to progress as he bids to add increased competition at right-back.
That would throw up the intriguing possibility of Gareth Evans, Adam Buxton and Talbot soon vying for a spot in Paul Cook’s first team.
Talbot had been the Blues’ first choice at right-back before his injury ahead of Crawley’s visit to Fratton Park.
The former Chesterfield favourite had previously started all five of Pompey’s League Two fixtures, with two clean sheets recorded.
His absence then opened the door for Evans to be granted a place back in the side, albeit in an unfamiliar full-back role.
At that point, the midfielder himself had recently returned from ligament and knee injuries sustained at Plymouth in last season’s play-off semi-final second leg.
Since then, Evans has started eight of the Blues’ past nine matches in all competitions, coming off the bench to replace the injured Buxton in the other.
The 28-year-old has impressed Cook and supporters alike in his stand-in position, yet would prefer a return to the goalscoring midfield mantle in which he shone last term.
Meanwhile, Buxton’s latest ankle injury is not as bad as initially feared.
The former Accrington player aggravated the problem in the Checkatrade Trophy draw with Reading under-23s last week.
It was a blow to Buxton, who had been pushing towards challenging following a frustrating start to his Fratton Park career.