DEJAN STEFANOVIC will be plunged back into Pompey's side at Fulham without a warm-up game.
Either Linvoy Primus or Andy O'Brien will be sacrificed from central defence to make way for the fit-again skipper.
Boss Harry Redknapp warned there was no room for sentiment ahead of the key relegation clash.
Stefanovic has not played since February 1 because of ankle surgery. He returned to training seven days ago but was not risked for the reserves on Monday evening.
That was done to preserve the Serb for the Craven Cottage battle. Redknapp rates Stefanovic as his best defender and wants him back in the team. The Serb will take up the captain's armband as Pompey seek a third straight victory at Fulham.
Redknapp is not afraid to break up the defence that has helped drive Pompey to maximum points against Manchester City and West Ham.
The Blues boss said: 'Dejan is getting fitter, which is great, and I hope he will be fit for Saturday. If he is, I'll put him straight in. At the end of the day, I've got to pick my best team. It's difficult, but I can't work on sentiment.'