A Leasing.com Trophy tie against Scunthorpe might not be the most high-profile match he has ever competed in.
But getting through 90 minutes of the quarter-final victory at Fratton Park meant the world to Jack Whatmough.
It was the defender’s first appearance since a League One draw with Doncaster last February, which saw him suffer a serious knee injury.
The 23-year-old admitted that it was difficult to come through his latest setback, but he was delighted to be on the pitch again.
Whatmough said: “It’s a milestone ticked off and something I’ve been waiting to do for 11-and-a-half months.
“There were times when the knee felt fine, but there was a little bit of swelling and so we stayed sensible and made sure not to rush it.
“You’ve got to stay positive and I could have sulked whenever I got told to step back a bit, but I didn’t want to do that.
"There are dark places and it’s important you get the right people around you to be able to come through that."
“All that feels worthwhile after playing 90 minutes in a blue shirt at Fratton Park again, especially with the win.
“The next aim is to be back playing in the league side again and it’s a challenge I’m really looking forward to.
“The knee felt fine and there was no reaction whatsoever. The legs started to stiffen up a bit and it takes a bit longer to get that second wind, but give it a few games and I’ll be flying.
“When you’re out, there are different challenges to overcome – sometimes you deal with them well and sometimes you don’t.
“There are dark places and it’s important you get the right people around you to be able to come through that.
“The family help you and my missus, mum and dad have all been brilliant, as have all the people at the club.
“The physios are always honest with me and vice versa, while the manager has constantly spoken to me to ask how I am – that simple question can make all the difference.
“It’s how you deal with those setbacks that’s important and the aim was always just to get back playing for Pompey.”
The win against Scunthorpe means that the Blues are now just one win away from reaching the final for a second successive season.
Whatmough said: “They’ve got good players in their team, but we defended well to get the result that takes us through to the next round.
“Getting to Wembley would be massive, especially because I missed out last season. Hopefully we can do it again.”