Michael Appleton has told weary Marko Futacs he will have to battle through his Pompey blip.
The Blues boss is desperate to take the Hungarian striker out of the firing line as he continues to adjust to the English game.
The 21-year-old’s form has dipped in recent weeks after bursting on to the scene with three goals in his first five starts.
Appleton believes Pompey’s gruelling fixture list is taking its toll on Futacs at present.
However, the Blues’ meagre squad size means Appleton is unable to intervene and take him out of his side for a rest.
Futacs, who has still made a massive impression since his summer arrival on a free transfer from Werder Bremen, has now started the past nine matches.
And his manager believes he will have to continue leading the line for the foreseeable future.
He said: ‘I would like to rest Marko.
‘I said when he first came into the side that it will get to a point where he needs a rest and needs to be pulled out of it.
‘But we are not in a position where we can do that.
‘He is going to have to soldier on. He is going to have to make sure he looks after himself in between the games and we will look after him the best we possibly can.
‘And he is going to have to grow up very, very quickly because it is going to be a steep learning experience for everyone – even the most experienced players in the dressing room.
‘What is happening to him now is just natural.
‘He’s a young boy who has not played much football over the last couple of years or so and is now getting his opportunity.
‘Marko has started off like a house on fire, getting himself a couple of goals, but it was always going to happen.
‘I have seen it time and time again over the last few years with various players.
‘We are where we are, it is what it is, hopefully he will get his second wind.
‘If he gets himself a goal or two over the next couple of games he might kick on again.’
Futacs was part of the Pompey side who lost 1-0 to Ipswich on Tuesday night.
It was a poor performance from the Blues, who have rallied magnificently through the continued financial problems.
In the end, however, it was to be the supporters who provided the major talking point with a Fratton Park sit-in up to 50 minutes after the final whistle.
And Appleton paid tribute to their backing.
He added: ‘They were fantastic again.
‘We went over to applaud them after the game and that was the right gesture because obviously they are appreciated.
‘We are going to need that for every home game and every away game until the end of the season.
‘We’ve got nine home games left.
‘And they are all going to be crucial.’