Pompey boss Kenny Jackett has reiterated his desire to keep Gareth Evans at Fratton Park.
The attacker has become increasingly frustrated at the slow progress of contract negotiations.
Evans, whose deal expires in the summer, remains keen to extend his south-coast stay beyond a fourth season.
Certainly Jackett wants to keep the 11-goal midfielder who has, on many occasions this season, skippered the side.
Talks are continuing, with Evans eager to resolve his future before the season ends.
And Pompey’s boss has stressed his intent to retain the former Fleetwood man.
Jackett said: ‘We are still talking to Gareth, we hope we can settle on something.
‘Personally, I am optimistic. I don’t know day-to-day how he feels about it all, but I would like to think we could keep Gareth.
‘He’s a player and a person I have a lot of time for, I really do.
‘We all want to come to an agreement, definitely. There is nobody here who doesn’t rate him or doesn’t want him to stay.
‘I’m hopeful he will stay, I really am. I think he can still improve, he has such a good attitude.
‘Contract talks are not my ultimate responsibility. I work very, very closely with Mark Catlin and Tony Brown, but it is the board of directors’ responsibility, ultimately.’
Evans has made 174 appearances and scored 30 times since arriving at Fratton Park in the summer of 2015.
He netted his 11th of the campaign on Tuesday night, direct from a free-kick, as the Blues won 3-0 at Bury in the Checkatrade Trophy.
The 30-year-old is now likely to skipper Pompey at Wembley for next month’s Checkatrade Trophy final.
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