Reeco Hackett wants to use the Papa Johns Trophy to stake a claim for a place in the Pompey side.
The forward has impressed in the early stages of the season, although most of his league appearances have come from the bench.
But he is likely to be handed a starting berth when Aston Villa under-21s visit the south coast on Tuesday evening.
And Hackett knows the group stage contest provides the opportunity for several players to prove their worth.
He said: “It’s a great chance to bounce back after the Ipswich defeat and I’m sure there will be a freshening up of the team.
“The game provides a good opportunity for those players who haven’t been involved as much to show what they can do.
“We need to keep pushing the boys who have been in the team to ensure the squad remains competitive.
"The game provides a good opportunity for those players who haven’t been involved as much to show what they can do."
“You have to constantly apply pressure to make sure that nobody gets too comfortable and that’s why it’s important we have a strong squad.
“We’ll be facing good young players with a lot of energy and if we don’t attack the game with the right mindset, then we’ll get hurt.
“I don’t think that will be a problem with the group we’ve got this season, though, and everyone knows what needs to be done.”
Pompey suffered their first league defeat of the season at Portman Road on Saturday, but Hackett knows there is a long way to go.
He said: “I don’t think we performed at our best, but we had given ourselves a chance by twice coming back to level.
“That’s our first loss of the season and we’ll learn a lot from it. It will only make us a better side going forward.
“It’s still early in the season and there are a lot of points to play for, while we have a game in hand on most clubs.
“So we’ll keep plugging away and not pay too much attention to the table at this stage. We just take it one game at a time.”