The perfect Portsmouth fit who could be one of the signings of the summer

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If ever a Pompey match gloriously epitomised Connor Ogilvie, it was Oxford United.

As selfless as ever, early in the second half of the March clash he produced a full-blooded block to successfully thwart a visiting attack in front of the Milton End.

Once the adrenaline subsided, the left-back sank to the ground and required treatment for a sizable length of time.

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Such was the extent of that knee injury, it marked another spell on the sidelines for Pompey’s Mr Dependable in a campaign dogged by unavailability, following a groin problem and then ankle ligament damage.

Connor Ogilvie holds aloft the League One trophy. Picture: Jason Brown/ProSportsImagesConnor Ogilvie holds aloft the League One trophy. Picture: Jason Brown/ProSportsImages
Connor Ogilvie holds aloft the League One trophy. Picture: Jason Brown/ProSportsImages | Jason Brown/ProSportsImages

Nonetheless, injury or not, he completed that Oxford match, soldiering on as John Mousinho’s men triumphed 2-1 courtesy of substitute Christian Saydee’s winner.

The left-back subsequently spent the next fortnight in the treatment room, missing three games, yet, in that moment against the U’s, put the team first, irrespective of pain and discomfort.

Ogilvie is the perfect Pompey fit and, by penning a new two-year deal on Saturday, could well prove to be one of the signings of this summer.

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Tellingly, the August 2021 free transfer recruit from Gillingham was an automatic first-team choice for Danny Cowley and now Mousinho.

Of the 14 out-of-contract players in the aftermath of the League One title triumph, the Blues wasted no time in attempting to keep just two of them - skipper Marlon Pack and Ogilvie.

That’s how highly valued the versatile defender is at Fratton Park following 117 games and eight goals in his opening three years on the south coast.

A manager’s dream, he set the tone on a Blues debut at Fleetwood in August 2021, when Shaun Williams’ warm-up injury prompted Ogilvie to instead be utilised in the centre of midfield.

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Cowley’s men won 1-0 on that opening day and since then the former Gillingham favourite has continued to demonstrate his versatility at left-back, right-back, left-sided centre-half and in a back three.

Admittedly, as a full-back he represents a more defensive option rather than a swashbuckling raider down the flanks, a contrast offered by Jack Sparkes.

Indeed, Mousinho has often spoken of attempting to introduce a greater attacking edge to Ogilvie’s game, particularly visible on the final day of the 2022-23 campaign when he should have bagged a hat-trick against Wycombe.

But he remains a fully committed and highly dependable performer and it was no coincidence that, upon his return from ankle ligament damage in January, it resurrected a stagnant Pompey.

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The League One leaders were tottering, five points from six league matches around the Christmas period, including chastening defeats at Bristol Rovers and Cheltenham, then at home to Leyton Orient.

Back to fitness for the following game, Ogilvie came off the bench in a 1-0 victory at Fleetwood and, from that point, the Blues lost one of their remaining 19 matches to claim the title - of which he featured in 15 of them.

‘Connor was a no-brainer for us. Some signings carry an element of risk, we never felt that with him. A very sensible recruit for the football club.

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‘He’s another really underrated player, an outstanding professional and so reliable. You pretty much don’t need to talk to him Monday to Friday, you know you’re going to get a high level of consistency on a Saturday. He’s a delight to be honest.

‘If they were all like Connor, your life would be very, very easy. Low maintenance, high output.’

It’s a sentiment echoed by Mousinho and sporting director Rich Hughes, hence the urgency to tie him to a new Fratton Park, while releasing 10 players and deciding against taking up 12-month options on Joe Morrell and Zak Swanson.

Pompey’s head coach regards Ogilvie as a player capable of stepping up to the Championship at the age of 28 following a career spent in League One and League Two. It was never about sentiment.

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Whether he remains a regular starter is to be seen, with the likelihood that the left-back area will be strengthened this summer, potentially with a younger, more attacking candidate.

Still, for two more years Ogilvie will be putting his body on the line in the Pompey cause, irrespective of injury. The archetypal team player and an excellent summer signing.

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