Jack Whatmough faces a race against time to be fit for Pompey’s crunch clash with Hartlepool this weekend.
The 17-year-old turned in another impressive display at the heart of the Blues defence in the 2-1 win at Newport County, before an injury led to his substitution.
The talented England under-18 international suffered a hip and lower back problem which ended his involvement as Sonny Bradley replaced him for the final half an hour.
But boss Andy Awford has not ruled him out of making a full recovery and is optimistic Whatmough will be in contention for a place in the Fratton Park showdown.
Awford said: ‘Jack had a sore lower back and a hip flexor problem.
‘We’ll see how he responds to treatment in the next couple of days but we’re hoping he will be okay.
‘He is working with Sean Duggan (Blues physio) but we will give him as much time as possible to recover.’
It underlines how highly Awford rates the Gosport teenager that he showed no hesitation in selecting him at centre-back alongside Bondz N’Gala for his first game in caretaker charge.
Aside from Whatmough, the Blues reported a clean bill of health after the game, and Awford could yet be handed another boost with both Simon Ferry and Danny East closing in on a return.
He said: ‘They are both making their way back but it’s too early to know if they will be fit for this weekend yet.’