It’s a surprise Curtis Main wasn’t given ample opportunity to impress at Pompey.
That's the verdict of Peter Hartley, who feels the former Blues striker is good enough to make the grade in the Championship.
Main endured a difficult 18-month spell at Fratton Park.
Arriving from Doncaster for an undisclosed fee in July 2016, he made just 14 appearances and scored five goals as Paul Cook’s side captured the League Two title.
After Kenny Jackett took charge the following campaign, Main was again down the striking pecking order, behind the likes of Brett Pitman and Oli Hawkins.
He netted once in nine matches before departing for Motherwell in January 2018.
The former Middlesbrough marksman has been a hit at Fir Park, though, inspiring them to the Scottish FA Cup final last term with a double against Aberdeen.
Hartley, the man who broke Pompey fans’ hearts with his late header for Plymouth in the 2016 League Two play-off semi-final, is a team-mate of Main at Motherwell.
And the centre-back admits he’d have expected the 26-year-old to have been handed more minutes at the Blues.
Hartley said: ‘He’s doing well, really well. When he came here, he was a breath of fresh air.
‘We lost an unbelievable striker in Louis Moult to Preston, which was a really well-deserved moved.
‘We were all thinking how we were going to replace Moulty.
‘In January, the gaffer did some swift business, got Maino up here and he hit the ground running.
‘He banged in goals. He literally took us to another cup final on his own because he scored two unbelievable goals against Aberdeen in the semi-final.
‘This season he hasn’t scored the goals he started with last year but his all-round team play has got other players around him a lot of goals.
‘He’s been a battler this year. He has been fantastic.
‘I am surprised (he didn’t get more of a chance at Pompey) because I know how good a player he is.
‘It’s one them things where a manager goes to a club like Portsmouth and have the backing financially then they want to bring their own type of players in.
‘I don't think he left with any hard feelings with regards to Kenny Jackett.’
Main is out of contract at Fir Park this summer and has been linked with moves to Scottish Premiership sides Aberdeen and Hearts.
But should he opt for a move back across the border, Hartley insists Main could cut it in the Championship.
He added: ‘I genuinely believe Maino could play at Championship level – without a doubt.
‘He got an opportunity to come and rebuild at Motherwell.
‘He’s out of contract this summer and I’d like to think he‘s put his name back on the map.’