Joe Gallen has intimated Pompey may have to switch their attention from Ryan Yates.
The midfielder had been lined-up for a Fratton Park loan switch when the January transfer window opened.
However, the 21-year-old was surprisingly named on Nottingham Forest’s bench for their New Year’s Day fixture with Leeds.
Yates’ sole first-team appearance so far this season arrived in the Carabao Cup against Bury in August, only to be withdrawn at half-time.
And although unused in their 4-2 triumph over high-flying Leeds, Gallen admitted it sent out a message to any suitors.
Pompey’s assistant manager said: ‘Once a player is on the bench for the team you can’t really talk about him, he’s involved.
‘You move on. We still have a number of different options for midfield.
‘I understand there is a clamour for names, but I will probably leave you now, go into the office and start catching up on other players and names.
‘Then on February 1, I’ll be on the phone talking about names and players – it never ends, it never stops.
‘We are definitely going to try to bring some players in.
‘We want to strengthen a few areas and midfield is definitely somewhere where we feel we are a bit light.’
Yates has still to make his league debut for Forest after emerging through the youth ranks.
He was last season loaned to Notts County and then Scunthorpe, totalling 47 appearances and eight goals.
However, aspirations of breaking into the Championship club’s first-team upon his return have proven wide of the mark.
The opportunity for regular football with Pompey inevitably appeals to Yates, although the situation has also become complicated with manager Aitor Karanka purported to be under pressure.
That ongoing issue has impeded any prospective loan deal for Yates, to further frustrate interested parties, such as Pompey.
Kenny Jackett has already recruited Andy Cannon in a £150,000 deal from Rochdale, but there remains intent to add another midfielder to his squad.
That search coincides with Ben Close ruled out for two weeks with an ankle problem collected after appearing as a 69th-minute substitute against AFC Wimbledon.
Meanwhile Ben Thompson is returning to Millwall, with Saturday’s FA Cup trip to Norwich pencilled in as his farewell.