Sonny Bradley will play a big part in the remainder of the Blues’ League Two campaign.
That is the message delivered by Richie Barker after dropping the central defender for the midweek win at Wycombe.
The 22-year-old made way for Ben Chorley at Adams Park as Pompey gave a debut to their new skipper.
It was the first time Bradley has ever been dropped by the Blues, his only previous absence coming through a one-game suspension.
But Joe Devera instead got the nod to partner recent recruit Chorley in the 1-0 victory.
Although, Barker insists Bradley will still feature in the first-team as the season progresses.
He said: ‘Sonny has played nearly every game and I felt he needed a bit of a break.
‘He looked a little bit low after the weekend as well.
‘He took it extremely well, we have done some more work with him and he wants to keep learning, so he will play a big part in what we are doing.
‘I just felt leadership-wise Ben (Chorley) would get us through a difficult week.
‘I think Joe has improved so much over the last two months.
‘Considering his own improvement, I believed mentally it would do him good to be given that vote of confidence.
‘They will all end up playing with each other – and Bondz as well.
‘You are never going to go through a season with the same centre-half partnership, so they will all benefit with Ben’s leadership skills.
‘But he won’t play every week either.’
Bradley and Devera had been Barker’s preferred partnership in six of his first eight games in charge.
Now newly-installed captain Chorley is the one to dislodge having started at Wycombe.