And Danny Cowley is convinced Jayden Reid’s training ground displays upon his long-awaited comeback augurs well for the future.
The pre-season friendly opener marks Reid’s competitive return since rupturing cruciate ligaments in his left knee during a friendly at Luton.
Having signed for the Blues days earlier, the then 20-year-old was immediately ruled out for the 2021-22 season.
Now Reid’s back – and Cowley is relishing seeing how he fares in match action.
He told The News: ‘Jayden has come back and looked in a really good place, he’s been fantastic.
‘I am so proud of him, he has worked so hard in the close season, he’s right at the top of the running stats.
‘Jayden is a power athlete and for him to be at the top of the aerobic work is testament to the work he has put in. I’ve been really pleased with how he has come back physically.
‘I wouldn't say I’m surprised either, because I know he has a great work ethic and sometimes the adversity of an injury can really focus the mind.
‘Certainly Jayden has come back with a real determination and desire, which is lovely to see.
‘He has been able to suck it all, and, by the weekend, will be among those that have run more than 100k in pre-season.
‘To be fair, with the nature of the cruciate injury, you have to do quite a lot of the physical work unopposed before you actually come back and play.
‘So he’s been on the grass since the beginning of March.’
Reid appeared in the second half of last season’s Gassan Ahadme-inspired 5-2 win at the Hawks.
He then accompanied the squad to their St George’s Park training camp, before featuring against Burton, Bristol City and, for seven minutes before injury struck, Luton.
Should he maintain his encouraging comeback, Cowley must decide whether to loan out the 21-year-old to give him match minutes denied last season.
Alternatively, Pompey’s head coach could keep him around the first-team set-up, ready to call upon him when necessary.
Cowley added: ‘We’ll try to make the right decision for Jayden. We've got to get games into him, but the way he has trained in the first two weeks you want him around.
‘There’s a great opportunity for all our attacking players because we don’t have any recognised forwards at that level at present and he can play as a left winger or a number nine.
‘Also, you have the five substitute rule next season, so there’s more chance from the bench.’
A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron
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