'He can be a top, top player': Skipper's praise for former forgotten man after eye-catching Portsmouth comeback
Reeco Hackett has been backed to flourish after turning in his finest Pompey performance.
The winger was handed a first league start in eight games at Accrington on Saturday as Danny Cowley sought to arrest the Blues’ slump.
It coincided with ripping up the wing-back system, with the left-footed Hackett asked to add width and pace to the right flank.
The outcome was the 23-year-old producing a strong attacking display in a 2-2 draw which Pompey rightly felt they should have won.
Following loan spells at Bromley and Southend last season, Hackett has firmly established himself in the Blues’ squad this term, with two goals in 15 games.
And Brown has been mightily impressed with the ongoing development of a player who had once been Fratton Park’s forgotten man.
Pompey’s skipper told The News: ‘Reeco had an unbelievable pre-season and started the campaign really, really well.
‘Changing shape probably hindered him a little, now he has come into a front three and I think did really well against Accrington.
‘Reeco has all the attributes to be a top, top player. You look at him, he’s tall, slim, strong, has a lovely left foot and is technically very good.
‘As soon as he comes inside and it opens up I only think “Goal”. I have the confidence in him to do that.
‘I don’t think that of many players, but with Reeco I definitely think it’s a chance as soon as it opens up for him. He will hit the target, he’s got a lovely left foot.
‘You go through all the attributes and he’s got the lot, but sometimes it’s confidence.
‘He can be a top, top player. He just has to keep working hard and producing on a consistent basis.’
Following successive heavy defeats, Cowley ditched his favoured system of late to restore a back four for Accrington.
In turn, that allowed Ronan Curtis and Hackett to operate as conventional wingers, with Marcus Harness operating off John Marquis.
Both Curtis and Harness got themselves on the scoreline, although the Blues created more than enough to defeat Stanley.
And Brown was full of praise for how Hackett and his fellow attackers set the tone for the rest of the team.
He added: ‘The majority of the front line did well at Accrington.
‘First and foremost, they worked really hard for the team and it's such a good platform for the back four when they can get pressure on the ball high up.
‘You’re not just loading the gun on that back four, we don’t have to defend if they put pressure on the ball. It helps us tenfold, which probably people don’t realise.
‘So credit to them for working hard.’
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