How Portsmouth's forgotten man will be in League Two relegation battle on Saturday rather than at a Wembley final

While Pompey’s players limber up for their Wembley adventure, one of their number will not be present.

By Neil Allen
Thursday, 11th March 2021, 1:00 pm
Reeco Hackett-Fairchild has featured 14 times since joining Southend on loan from Pompey in January. Picture: Jacques Feeney/Getty Images
Reeco Hackett-Fairchild has featured 14 times since joining Southend on loan from Pompey in January. Picture: Jacques Feeney/Getty Images

In fact, Reeco Hackett’s sole Blues outing actually arrived in last season’s Trophy on their way to the suspended final.

However, while Kenny Jackett’s men face Salford, Fratton Park’s forgotten man will instead spend Saturday afternoon representing Southend against Stevenage.

The 22-year-old was loaned to the League Two strugglers during the January transfer window – and was subsequently handed the regular football he craved.

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With 14 appearances and one goal, Hackett-Fairchild has managed to catch the eye amid Southend’s battle to avoid a non-league fate.

And Southend Echo’s Shrimpers reporter, Chris Phillips, has been impressed with the Pompey man’s ongoing contribution.

Phillips said: ‘Coming into Southend is probably one of the toughest loan spells you can have, especially for an attacking player.

‘It’s a side which, quite simply, doesn’t attack.

‘Earlier in the season, Southend were being thrashed left, right and centre, so, off the back of that, Mark Molesley changed to a more defensive 4-5-1.

‘That means Reeco has had to feed off scraps when going forward and barely had the chance to show what he can do on the front foot.

‘As a result, he has shown flashes and glimpses of being a good player, which is probably not any reflection on him.

‘There have been occasions when he’s been played down the middle as a striker, but most of the time Reeco has operated on the right wing cutting in on his left foot.

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‘He has produced some really good deliveries which, in another team, would most likely have led to more goals.

‘I have to say, he’s sometimes the only one in Southend’s team with any real attacking intent.

‘Reeco is one of the brighter performers this season, but that’s probably not saying too much in attacking terms for this side.

‘After all, statistically Southend are one of the worst teams in League Two – and don’t look to attack.’

Hackett-Fairchild was granted his Blues bow in January 2020, days after his transfer from Bromley for an undisclosed fee.

He started at Walsall in the Trophy, earning a booking and featuring for 63 minutes, as Jackett’s men won 2-1.

The attacker was then an unused substitute in the following round’s triumph over Scunthorpe.

That was the last time he featured in a Blues squad – and he will also be absent from Wembley

Phillips added: ‘He definitely looks capable of playing in the Football League.

‘I remember watching him warm-up ahead of his debut and a shot broke the net! He’s got a really clean left foot.

‘Generally, he drifts in and out of games, but that’s not his fault, it’s the team.

‘Reeco has done okay and certainly has the talent to play for a League One or League Two side – if they seek to attack more.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

On Saturday, March 13 Pompey will finally get their day at Wembley.

To celebrate the Blues’ place in the rearranged 2020 EFL Trophy Final, The News has launched an offer that gets you 25% off all our Sports subscriptions.

You can choose your perfect Sports subscription here and use the discount code ROADTOWEMBLEY25 to get the latest news from Fratton Park for less. Offer runs until midnight on March 15.