They were limbering up for a head-to-head to claim Pompey’s right-back spot.
Now Nathan Thompson has recovered his first-team place after injury dictated a no contest with Anton Walkes.
Walkes’ groin problem forced his half-time withdrawal against Plymouth, with Thompson called from the bench to aid the side in their 3-0 triumph.
Ironically, it was Thompson’s first squad involvement since damaging his knee in the opening game.
Walkes had deputised at right-back since that point – until his setback.
Now Thompson is unopposed as he lines-up against Shrewsbury on Saturday.
Regardless, Kenny Jackett is revelling in the intense competition both – when fit – add to his squad.
The Blues boss said: ‘Walkes went back into right-back after starting in midfield.
‘Probably for Anton, I think it is a more comfortable position and there's good competition.
‘Nathan has a challenge on his hands.
‘But he’s good enough to rise to that and – for everybody – you want that type of competition, that type of cover.
‘Nathan has done very well since he came to this club, both as a player and a person, really top drawer.
‘You set out in the summer to get two for every position.
‘It is a big club and a very, very good club and our expectations are high, rightly so.
‘You want to try to get two for very position or as near as you can.
‘That’s seven defenders, if you like, for the back four.’
Walkes, who is expected to miss up to three weeks, was replaced by Thompson in the Checkatrade Trophy victory over Gillingham on Tuesday.
And Jackett continues to be impressed with his summer signing from Spurs.
He added: ‘He has done well, I am pleased with Anton, and there’s more to come going forward.
‘A few times at Doncaster he checked out and went back towards the centre-back.
‘I remember saying to him afterwards “Come on, you have enough pace to drive past there, play the ball into Jamal, play the ball into Gareth down that side and then get moving and down the line. You have enough power to do that”.
‘He is very solid defensively. In terms of on the ball and going forward, he’s good, he has the pace to do it.
‘There's more to come, as there should be for any 21-year-old.’