Andy Cannon has been told: You’re close to a Pompey starting spot.
And tonight’s trip to Oxford in the EFL Trophy offers the midfielder an opportunity to catch the eye of Kenny Jackett.
Cannon was left out of the Blues’ match-day squad for Saturday’s 2-1 win at Doncaster.
Despite travelling to the Keepmoat Stadium, the former Rochdale man had to watch Pompey’s smash-and-grab success from the stands.
Cannon’s made eight appearances this term but has found himself behind Tom Naylor and Ben Close in the engine-room pecking order since Jackett switched to a 4-4-2 system.
Ross McCrorie was also ahead of him on the bench against Donny.
Nevertheless, Jackett stressed Cannon has been ‘unlucky’ not to have had recent minutes as he prepares to take on Oxford.
The Blues boss said: ‘There were 19 fit players there on Saturday and someone had to be 19th man.
‘It’s been one or two different people. It wasn’t anything he did, it was just the fact I selected other players on the bench.
‘We've played 4-4-2 in the past three games and Andy can play in a number of positions.
‘He can play off the striker or one of the two midfield positions.
‘Andy has to keep working hard and is competing with Close and Naylor at the moment.
‘They have been a good pairing for me, but it’s quite close between those as well as Ross McCrorie. There are four people competing and that's good
‘He's unlucky not to be in the side and probably Ben Close and Brett Pitman are the two positions he's competing with.’