Steve Cotterill admits his decision to move Joel Ward into midfield was based purely on a gut feeling.
The 21-year-old has spent the majority of his career to date operating as a defender, with his favoured position in the heart of the backline.
He has, however, been pushed up the field in recent weeks as Cotterill experiments with the resources available to him.
Ward was first deployed as a holding midfielder during a fixture against Nottingham Forest in January and has not looked back since.
He has excelled in the new role, becoming a key cog in a Pompey machine which has suffered just one defeat in its last nine outings.
On Ward's development, Cotterill told The News: "I don't want to elaborate too much but I suppose you get a feeling a bit on certain things.
"Whoever turned Kevin Phillips from a right-back at Baldock into one of Europe's best goalscorers must have had a feeling one day.
"I'm not saying it's where Joel will end up but he's done well there - very well."
Cotterill believes that Ward has also toughened up over recent weeks, with the 21-year-old having to show a different side to his game.
He added: "At the beginning of the season he was a real nice boy who took the nice boy on to the football pitch. He would get pushed and shoved off the ball, would get kicked and not kick back and lost headers.
"People won't remember that but we will. We would, for instance, watch a match and compare it to now.
"He's a different kid, completely different. He shakes your hand stronger than he did six months ago. He has that look where he will use his body weight when he has a tackle.
"I thought we needed him to be that bit more aggressive. Even the top players in the world are aggressive."