Andy Awford has admitted Wes Fogden has been a ‘big miss’ to his Pompey plans.
And the injured midfielder is not anticipated to return to training before February.
Fogden sustained knee ligament damage in July before the start of pre-season friendlies.
It has robbed the Blues of an integral performer who helped keep them in the Football League last season.
With two goals in the last four matches accompanied by his high tempo and enthusiastic approach, the ex-Hawks player established himself as a Fratton favourite.
It’s an ongoing absence the Pompey boss has conceded has been noticed in his squad.
And Fogden will remain sidelined for the next four months at least.
Awford said: ‘If we see him in a blue shirt before February or March that will be some going, he’s a long-termer.
‘He is doing really well, don’t get me wrong.
‘He’s had ligament damage so it is a serious one.
‘I am not expecting to see him back on the training pitch until the new year.
‘But it is such a stick in the sand because you just don’t know what is going to happen between now and February.
‘At Exeter away on the first day of the season if he is fit he plays, he was always in my team, no doubt about it. That tells you everything.
‘He was a massive player for us at the end of the season and he started five out of the last seven.
‘He was huge for us with his energy and work-rate.
‘I think he sparked other people into life.
‘When they looked at him it was “well if he can do it I can do it, come on” and that also got the crowd going with his enthusiasm and energy levels.
‘So he has been a big miss for us, he really has.
‘Forget us, I am gutted for him because he’d had a stop-start couple of years because of injury before coming here – then he goes and gets that and it was a freak, an absolute freak.
‘I was stood 10 yards from him when he did it.
‘There was no-one near him, the ball came out of the sky, he took off and when landing, his knee just went.
‘We have missed him, definitely, without a shadow of a doubt. That is no disrespect to the lads who are playing, they have done great.
‘But Foggy would have been in the team.
‘If and when he comes back in February or March he will be like a new signing. If we can have him for the run-in it will give everybody a lift.’
Fogden has made 19 appearances and scored two goals since his January arrival from Bournemouth.
But he is out of contract at the season’s end, although the Blues do have an option.
Awford added: ‘I don’t think it is an “if” but a “when” we can get him back out there.
‘We will address his contract when it comes to it.
‘We will assess that as and when.
‘Let’s get him out there first and then take it step-by-step.’