Guy Whittingham has warned Romain Padovani he must continue to learn if he is to break into Pompey’s first-team.
The 24-year-old was given a rare start in Tuesday night’s Johnstone’s Paint Trophy defeat to Newport County.
It was the Frenchman’s first appearance in the starting line-up since the previous round at Oxford – and only his second since August.
With Thery Racon now back at the club and Gavin Mahon also signed up, the outings have dried up for Padovani after early promise this season.
But he was one of the Blues’ better performers in the poor 3-0 defeat at Rodney Parade.
Whittingham still believes progress needs to be made in Padovani’s game if he is to win back his spot.
He said: ‘Padovani did okay on the ball against Newport.
‘The thing with Romain is that we are trying to get through to him, this is League Two in English football and it’s a little bit different to playing France.
‘He started the season okay, but I think sometimes you don’t want to play as much football as you are playing, you want to turn the opposition and get in behind them.
‘I think Romain is one of those that always looks to try to play football.
‘We know he’s got plenty of ability, we know he can strike a good pass, we know he can strike a good shot on goal.
‘What we have to do is get into his mind about the level of football he is playing and what it also needs.
‘You can’t always play football, sometimes you have got to do the right things and professional things to keep yourself in games.
‘I’m talking about off the ball as well as on the ball.
‘Romain is improving, though. He’s a great kid. He just wants to learn.’
Padovani, who is on a two-year deal, has made 11 Blues appearances since his summer release from Monaco.
That includes four successive starts in August, as deputy for Johnny Ertl who was serving a three-match ban.
For the Newport fixture, in his central midfield area Whittingham had Racon and Simon Ferry injured and Mahon suspended, while Ertl was rested and only given a place on the bench.
Meanwhile, Jake Jervis is back in Pompey training after picking up an injury last week.
His prospective switch to Fratton Park continues to stall through complications over his release from Elazigspor.
The 22-year-old initially hurt his ankle in training – although Whittingham is still waiting for permission to play him anyway.
He added: ‘Jake picked up a bit of a knock, that’s all it is, it’s nothing serious.
‘It’s just a knock to his foot, that’s all.
‘Hopefully we will get that all cleared and sorted. We are still hoping to get that signed.
‘His injury has not affected the deal. He’s back in training already.’