Danny Cowley is ready to hand some of Pompey’s academy hopefuls the chance to shine at Fratton Park.
Crystal Palace’s under-21 side visit the south coast this evening for the final fixture in Southern Group B of the Papa John’s Trophy.
The hosts need to collect three points if they are to have any chance of reaching the competition’s knockout stages.
But Cowley’s number one priority is to offer minutes to those members of his squad who need them the most.
The Blues boss said: “It represents another opportunity for some of our players who have been on the edges of our first team.
“I think some of them felt they didn’t do themselves justice in the last match against Sutton, so they’ll want to attack the game with real positivity.
“But there will also be a chance for a few of our younger lads, who I watched in the FA Youth Cup at Erith last week.
"I never see the negatives of these matches – I only see the positives. Players who have been short of game time will be able to get some rhythm."
“The side we’re going to put out will be a youthful one and it’s a great step in their education to play at Fratton Park with senior professionals.
“I never see the negatives of these matches – I only see the positives. Players who have been short of game time will be able to get some rhythm.”
Cowley has had to contend with a growing list of players sat in the treatment room, with skipper Clark Robertson, Ryan Tunnicliffe and Ellis Harrison among the absentees.
He said: “We’ve picked up some key injuries and could potentially be down to about 14 senior players at the weekend.
“It can be a bit of domino effect because you end up over-using the rest of the squad and get into a vicious circle.
“That’s perhaps what we’re dealing with at the moment, but we’ll roll with the punches and do the best we can in the circumstances.
“Paul Downing and Liam Vincent have just done their first sessions back with the team, though, so there are a couple of positives.”