Omar Bogle revealed he was set to partner Oli Hawkins up front in the play-off semi-final second leg against Sunderland before he was struck down by injury.
The striker had to watch Pompey’s League One promotion hopes end from the Fratton Park directors’ box last month.
After suffering knee and ankle swelling at Burton in April – which initially looked like it had ruled him out for the remainder of the season – Bogle made a surprisingly quick recovery.
He was used off the bench in the first leg at the Stadium of Light, with the Blues being condemned to a 1-0 defeat.
As a result, Kenny Jackett was set to switch his tactics for the return game in a bid to turn the tables on the Black Cats.
Pompey had worked on Bogle and Hawkins spearheading a two-pronged attack in training – rather than Jackett playing his favoured 4-2-3-1 system.
However, the Cardiff loanee picked up a groin setback during shooting practice, with a scan flagging up a grade one tear.
And Bogle told of his pain after not being able to help Pompey against Sunderland.
He said: It was literally the last kick of training. We were doing finishing, I had a shot and felt my groin.
‘I had a scan and it was a grade one tear. I was meant to start the game as well.
‘It was going to be me and Oli up front.
‘Things like that are really frustrating. They were injuries I’ve never had before in my life.
‘I went from not playing at all to a long time to playing consistently, it took its toll.
‘It was the worst because I was set to start and got injured.
‘During the game, we didn’t have many opportunities in the situation we were in.
‘It was frustrating to watch and not be able to do anything about it but the boys need to kick on next season now.’
Bogle and Hawkins had previous played alongside each other in the 3-3 draw at Southend in February.
Pompey raced into a three-goal lead after 31 minutes and it was a pairing that some fans had wanted to see again.
Bogle added: ‘We enjoyed playing together.
‘We’re completely different strikers and enjoyed playing with each other at Southend and in training.
‘We’d worked on it in the week and we were looking forward to it.’