'I was watching from afar for 18 months': Once forgotten man Reeco Hackett-Fairchild on his Portsmouth transformation

In his own words, Reeco Hackett-Fairchild was watching Pompey from afar for 18 months.

Wednesday, 6th October 2021, 4:55 am
Reeco Hackett-Fairchild places the ball for the free-kick which would result in Pompey's consolation in last month's 2-1 defeat at Burton. Picture: Daniel Chesterton/phcimages.com

A January 2020 recruit from non-league Bromley, the winger swiftly became Fratton Park’s forgotten man.

During his opening one-and-a-half seasons with the Blues, he totalled one appearance, one yellow card and two squad involvements.

Yet the arrival of Danny Cowley would reinvigorate Hackett-Fairchild’s fading Pompey career.

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With the 23-year-old on loan at Southend upon the head coach’s March 2021 arrival, the pair didn’t work together until the opening day of pre-season.

The winger has now featured in 11 of the Blues’ 13 matches this season, netting twice.

And he’s revelling working with a manager to have finally shown faith in his talents.

He told The News: ‘I was watching from afar for 18 months, it was tough. I just wanted an opportunity.

‘I hadn’t had that faith in me from a manager. I arrived at the club in January 2020 and it didn't really work out.

‘I was actually out on loan when Danny arrived here, so he had never really seen me. Still, I spoke to him here and there and hopefully built our relationship.

‘Then I came in for pre-season to give it my all to get into the Pompey team. It was a restart, everyone was given a fair chance, which is what I wanted.

‘I had opportunities in pre-season and tried to impress the manager, I was always prepared to work hard to earn my place in the squad.

‘For me, I never stopped believing that I could make an impact. The manager has given me an opportunity, while improving me tactically and physically.

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‘He has faith in me – and I’m determined to repay him.’

Hackett-Fairchild made his Football League entrance with Charlton, amassing 24 appearances and two goals.

However, he had drifted into non-league by the time the Blues recruited him for an undisclosed fee.

He spent the first half of last term on loan at Bromley – and the second half with Southend.

And while he had 25 outings for the League Two club, relegation into the National League at the season’s end capped a testing period.

He added: ‘It was a tough season at Southend, but that six months did me the world of good.

‘I saw and experienced things for myself, otherwise I wouldn’t have ever known. Going there taught me a lot and made me a better player.

‘You have to take the positives where you can find them and that’s the main thing. I could have gone somewhere easier, but I always like to test myself.

‘I played a lot of games and it definitely improved me, while mentally it helped too.

‘It’s something I have taken into my game at Pompey. I am still fairly young and making my way, so to experience that early on is a good thing.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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