Pompey are destined for a Capital One Cup hammering at Plymouth tonight – according to furious boss Michael Appleton.
The Blues manager will be forced to field a development side at Home Park for the League Cup clash.
He has been blocked from bringing in any new players to his squad – apart from goalkeeper Simon Eastwood, who has signed on non-contract terms.
And the Pompey boss has only Ashley Harris and Adam Webster available, who have previous Pompey first-team experience.
Appleton has already apologised to his blameless young players – most of whom were in the side beaten by Salisbury at the weekend – and fears they will be ripped to shreds by Argyle.
The Pompey boss said: ‘I fear the worst result-wise and it would be stupid to think anything else.
‘I would be lying through my back teeth if I said anything other than it was going to be a difficult, difficult night for everyone – none more so than the kids.
‘The majority of them played against Salisbury and lost the game.
‘But I sat down with those players and told them whatever happens, there will be nobody pointing any fingers at them or finding fault with them for anything.
‘They just have to give 100-per-cent commitment, run around for 90 minutes, see where they go from there and they just have to make life as difficult as they can for Plymouth.’
Appleton also believes the travelling Blues fans will play their part in helping the youngsters through the experience.
He said: ‘The young players will certainly have the backing of the fans and the staff and I will stand there with them and do what I can do to help them.
‘The reality is that it’s going to be a tough, tough night for us.’