Guy Whittingham has told axed John Sullivan: You can still save your Pompey career.
The former Charlton keeper was dropped from the Blues’ side after the disastrous 4-2 defeat at York City and replaced by on-loan Bury stopper Trevor Carson.
But Carson will be ineligible to play against his parent club next weekend, which will open the door for either Sullivan or Phil Smith to take over.
And while Blues boss Whittingham looks set to offer Sullivan the chance to go out on loan and find regular first-team football, he insists that does not spell the end for the 25-year-old.
‘There is no point in loaning anyone out before the Bury game next weekend,’ said Whittingham.
‘We might possibly look at that further down the line. We will work that out with John.
‘You’ve got to do what’s best for everybody. If John feels he needs to go out on loan and we feel he won’t be playing for us in the short term, then that’s probably the best thing to do.
‘He’s three months into a two-year contract so who knows what will happen in the future?
‘It’s not the end of John Sullivan at this football club and I have not said to him that he is finished at this club.
‘If he gets his head down and works hard to get himself back into form, who knows what can happen.’
It’s been a turbulent Blues start for the former Brighton trainee, who was replaced by Smith after the 4-1 home defeat to Oxford on the opening day of the season.
Sullivan was then given another opportunity back in the side after Smith’s mistake at Mansfield and appeared to be finding some consistency – until the York debacle.
Carson, meanwhile, has impressed following a clean sheet on his debut in the 3-0 win over Rochdale and another solid display in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy win at Oxford in midweek.
Although it was a ruthless decision from Whittingham to bring in a new goalkeeper, he has been pleased with Sullivan’s response.
‘It’s a difficult decision but you’ve got to make decisions you think are right,’ said the manager.
‘We thought it was right to bring Trevor in. He’s done well in the first couple of games and we’re encouraged by that. But I have to be fair to John. He has got his head down and worked hard.
‘He hasn’t sulked, he hasn’t made a fuss – he has just got his head down and worked, which I respect.
‘He’s a good character but he’s frustrated that it hasn’t worked out for him yet.’
Smith is expected to continue as back-up keeper as he combines his coaching duties but will not go out on loan.
Whittingham added: ‘We have to remember Phil needs to keep up his form as well, although he is doing some of the coaching now.
‘We need to know he can step on the pitch and do the job if he is required. You probably couldn’t loan out your goalkeeper coach, though.’