Kenny Jackett has lifted the lid on Jamal Lowe’s surprise absence against the Hawks.
The in-demand winger was listed in Pompey’s starting XI at Westleigh Park this afternoon for the Blues’ second pre-season friendly.
However, there was no sign of the Wigan target, with Gareth Evans instead replacing him in Jackett’s line-up.
Pompey’s boss put the team sheet issue down to a communication error – with Lowe actually having been handed the weekend off for a ‘breather’.
The 24-year-old was the subject of two bids from former boss Paul Cook in the build-up to the Hawks fixture, both of which were rejected.
Yet he is inching towards finalising the Championship move, having become unsettled over the summer.
In the meantime, Jackett opted not to field Lowe in this afternoon’s 2-1 victory over the Hawks.
He said: ‘I gave Jamal the weekend off, as I did Ross McCrorie.
‘With Jamal, as you would have seen, I had many, many talks with him during the course of the week about his future, about his position at the club, and I felt it best by the end of the week that he needs to think about things and needed a breather.
‘There have been no bids agreed but, as everybody is aware, the clubs have been talking.
‘It’s a big call, a big call for Jamal, we have to get the balance right between being right for the player, but well prepared for Portsmouth.
‘In Ireland there were extensive talks and I’m sure they will go on.
‘I considered it (playing him) right up until Thursday and Friday, he has been fully fit and not missed any sessions.
‘But, as it got towards Friday, I spoke to him again and decided against playing him.’
Jackett expects Lowe to be back in Pompey training on Monday.
The Blues travel to the Rocks on Tuesday evening (7.45pm) for their next friendly, although it will effectively be a second string side.
It remains to be seen whether Lowe is handed a role in that Nyewood Lane fixture.