Sunderland manager Jack Ross has praised former Pompey loan player Chris Maguire who played a key role in the 2-2 draw with Accrington on Friday.
The winger came off the bench on 53 minutes when the home side were 2-0 down.
It looked very bleak for their automatic promotion prospects at that stage.
But he immediately impacted the game.
George Honeyman halved the deficit as Maguire’s cross was knocked back across goal by Will Grigg.
Then Maguire’s pull-back teed up Aiden McGeady for him to level in the 62nd minute.
The point ultimately saw them not lose any ground to Pompey over the weekend.
But they did slip back from the top two with Luton and Barnsley both winning.
Ross felt Maguire’s performance was so important and showed he could have a vital role in the battle to go up.
The boss told Sunderland’s official website: ‘He was terrific on Friday evening and I’m delighted he responded in that way.
‘The relationship I’ve had with him has been consistent. He has been frustrated recently, like any player would be who wants to play.
‘He has played a lot for us this season but on Friday he showed the reaction we hoped he would and now the challenge for Chris is to continue that and maintain that kind of performance level.
‘If he plays to that level and that manner then he will always be in my team, so for him to respond in that way is a testament to his character.
‘He will continue to be an important part of what we want to do this season and you saw on Friday night the quality he can bring to the side as well.’
Maguire played for Pompey in the Championship on loan from Derby in 2012.
He scored in the 4–1 victory over Birmingham City at Fratton Park on March, 20 and in total netted three goals in 11 appearances.