Richie Barker has warned Simon Ferry’s Pompey appearances still require handling with caution as the midfielder inches his way back.
The Scot returned to training on Monday following his latest back-related problem and the Blues manager considered naming him in his match-day 18 against Accrington Stanley.
Instead, he elected to hold Ferry back a little while longer – with Romain Padovani and Toumani Diagouraga chosen as his central-midfield pairing.
The 26-year-old will realistically be far closer to a return at Chesterfield in Monday night’s tough trip.
Regardless, Barker insists it is crucial the former Swindon player is not rushed back into Pompey’s team.
He said: ‘There are one or two issues that Simon can and can’t do, probably not a lot different to what it was before.
‘It’s about managing his body and that was always going to be the case with the injury he has got.
‘He’s not a million miles away and I considered throwing him in on Tuesday night to be fair but we have got to be aware we can’t keep throwing him in and then bringing him off.
‘It won’t do him any good in terms of his mental state and it won’t do him any good in terms of what the people at the football club think of him.
‘What we don’t want is to throw him out there and he comes off and they think “here he goes again”. We have to think of the goodness of Simon.
‘I’ve got to time it right in terms of the right time for him, the right time for the team and the right time for the club.
‘We won the game on Tuesday, so fortunately I made the right decision.’