Kenny Jackett refused to brandish Pompey’s 11th-hour injury outbreak as an excuse for their disappointing Stadium of Light loss.
Lee Brown, Brett Pitman and Brandon Haunstrup were all sidelined from the play-off semi-final first leg following injury during Thursday’s training session.
Brown failed a fitness test on a troublesome Achilles on Saturday morning ahead of the 1-0 defeat at Sunderland.
He was joined on the sidelines by Pitman, whose hamstring problem required a scan on Thursday, revealing damage.
Finally, Brandon Haunstrup, a candidate to deputise for Brown, injured medial ligaments in his left knee and is out for the play-off campaign.
With Dion Donohue also missing with his problematic groin issue, Anton Walkes had to step in at left-back.
Although Jackett believes Brown and Pitman have ‘a chance’ of featuring in Thursday’s decisive second leg at Fratton Park.
He said: ‘With injuries, it just happens that way, you have to overcome it.
‘We aren’t the only side to get injuries.
‘Lee Brown failed a fitness test in the morning on an Achilles injury. He has been fighting it slightly for around a week.
‘Brett Pitman has a hamstring injury which he has been nursing for a little bit, but hopefully he’s on the road to recovery.
‘Neither are ruled out and both have a chance for next week. What type of chance, I don’t know where it is.
‘I will certainly make a decision by Tuesday or Wednesday for Thursday night.
‘Brandon damaged medial knee ligaments on Thursday. It didn’t settle down at all, he went for a scan and it looks like eight weeks.
‘We were hopeful that maybe he had just jarred it and would settle down after a few days. It was quite an innocuous situation, now certainly his season is over.’