Michael Appleton is refusing to admit defeat in his long-running attempt to reunite George Thorne with Pompey.
But the Blues boss remains in the dark over when a potential loan deal can be resurrected.
Thorne and Joe Mattock had been given permission by the Football League to return to Fratton Park from West Brom.
However, their arrivals were delayed amid an injury crisis at the Hawthorns.
Now Pompey’s on-going wage problems have sabotaged the plans.
Mattock instead moved to Brighton on transfer deadline day until the end of the season.
Thorne remains an option, though, and is eager to come back. The emergency loan window opens on Wednesday and closes at the end of March.
As it stands, Appleton doesn’t even know if he can bring in a replacement for Ryan Williams.
Yet Pompey’s manager remains determined to find a way to recapture Thorne.
He said: ‘If there was an opportunity when the emergency loan window opens to bring George back we would love to.
‘Although, if you are asking me whether Ryan (Williams) going means I can now bring one back, I am not too sure.
‘Who knows if anyone will go during the loan window?
‘I don’t want to think about that at the minute.
‘Every time I ask one question, I get an answer and the goalposts change slightly.
‘But I know George, if given the opportunity, would love to come back.
‘He was texting me on Tuesday to see what was happening.
‘I need to speak to Roy Hodgson as well and ask whether Keith Andrews going to West Brom means George is open and free to maybe go out until the end of the season?
‘There’s the wage issue as well.
‘It helps to go into a football club who can actually pay the players.’