The first casualty of Portsmouth's season is back after seven months out - and in sparkling form after cruel luck
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Now, having been sidelined for seven months, Destiny Ojo is back on a football pitch – and shining for the Academy.
Recruited from Lancing last summer following a successful trial, the talented striker was promoted to first-team training at the start of pre-season in June.
It was a call-up out of necessity, with the Blues desperately short of forwards, with Dan Gifford the only other presence.
Nonetheless, Cowley publicly praised Ojo’s first week of training, while describing him as possessing ‘some of the physical attributes you would like’.
However, the youngster broke his ankle in the first session of his second week, while stretching for the ball with nobody near him.
It was cruel luck and the second-year scholar never played again in 2022.
Ojo would finally return for Sam Hudson’s under-18s side at the start of February in a bid to make up for lost time at Fratton Park.
After marking his long-awaited comeback as a half-time substitute in a 5-4 defeat to Swindon, Ojo has since been involved in every Academy fixture.
Subsequently, in his first 90 minutes since the injury, he netted in a 3-2 defeat to Gillingham, and has now totalled eight appearances.
That culminated in a starring role in Saturday's 3-0 victory over Oxford United in the Merit League for a third straight win.
Ojo scored one and assisted another for strike partner Maxwell Hurst, who would net twice, in the fixture held at their Copnor Road training home.
Watched by ex-Pompey skipper Johnny Ertl ahead of attending the Former Players’ Day, he headed Harvey Laidlaw’s delivery back across goal for Hurst to open the scoring.
Then, before half-time, Adam Payce teed-up Ojo to drill a shot into the bottom corner to make it 2-0.
Having spent the previous three matches on the bench, it was a triumphant return to the starting XI for the youngster, with the Academy having four games remaining.
Pompey are currently in the process of deciding which of their youngsters will be handed third-year scholarships.
However, Ojo’s place is already assured, having signed a two-year deal upon his arrival from Lancing last summer.
It means the first-team may not have seen the last of him after that wretched misfortune during the 2022 pre-season.