Who is Akin Odimayo? The Portsmouth triallist who's been linked with Derby, Preston, Stoke and Sheffield Wednesday

Akin Odimayo has emerged as one of the triallists who has travelled with Pompey for their pre-season training camp at St George's Park this week.

Wednesday, 14th July 2021, 5:30 pm

The defender is one of the new faces to have linked up with the Blues this week, having not featured in Saturday's 5-2 friendly win at the Hawks.

He bids to win a deal at Fratton Park, having spent last season at Swindon.

But what else do we know about Odimayo?

Sign up to our Portsmouth FC newsletter

Name: Akin Odimayo

Age: 21

Position: Centre-back

Place of birth: Camden, London

Akin Odimayo, on trial at Pompey, in action for Swindon last season. Picture: Alex Burstow/Getty Images

Nationality: Born in England, he is of Nigerian descent and eligible to represent the Super Eagles. He did not play for either country at youth level.

So where did he begin his career?

Odimayo started his career at Reading. He penned scholarship terms in the summer of 2016 before signing a pro contract two years later.

However, the centre-half struggled for opportunities at the Royals. He made just one senior appearance, with his debut arriving in a 4-2 Carabao Cup first-round win over Plymouth in August 2019.

He had loan spells with National League South side Hungerford where he played eight times before joining Waterford in February 2020. He made four outings for the League of Ireland outfit before the season was shut down amid the coronavirus crisis.

Odimayo was released in the summer of 2020.

What happened next then?

Odimayo caught the attention of Swindon as a free agent.

Richie Wellens who was manager at the time, took the centre-half in on trial ahead of the Robins' League One return.

He did enough to impress Wellens, who handed him a one-year deal at the County Ground.

Swindon were relegated last season – so surely that does not bode well for Pompey?

He did indeed go down with the Robins, although he was one of their stand-out performers.

Under Wellens, Odimayo made a bright impression. His athleticism and willingness to learn meant Wellens wanted to hand the 21-year-old a new contract barely two months into the 2020-21 campaign.

After Wellens' departure to Salford in November, Odimayo continued in successor John Sheridan's plans.

He made 34 appearances in total – one coming in a 2-0 loss to Pompey at Fratton Park in February – but could not help Swindon from avoiding the drop to League Two.

Still, it proved a decent breakthrough campaign for Odimayo and he was crowned the Swindon Advertiser's Player of the Season - ahead of former Pompey target Scott Twine and ex-Blues captain Brett Pitman and Jack Payne.

Why is he available if he did so well for Swindon?

Odimayo only signed a one-year deal in Wiltshire.

The Robins offered him fresh terms after releasing their retained list in May but he has opted not to sign.

It seems like Odimayo has had his admirers in the past?

That's if the reports are true, of course.

In April, TEAMtalk claimed that four Championship clubs were monitoring him.

Stoke, Preston, Derby and Sheffield Wednesday were all supposedly admirers.

However, responding to those rumours, Sheridan he was not aware of any interest.

In truth, Odimayo would not be trialling with Pompey if wanted by the second-tier quarter.

More recently, League One rivals Doncaster - where Wellens is now manager - have been credited with interest, while Wednesday have again linked.

What's been said about Odimayo's qualities?

Speaking after Championship rumours emerged, Sheridan said: 'He’s performed well at times and then he hasn’t performed well.

‘He’s a young lad who’s learning the game and he’s got a lot to learn still. He needs to push himself a lot more to firstly get a regular starting place and make it so that a manager has no doubt in his mind that he’s going to turn up.

‘He needs to be consistently performing well if it’s Championship clubs looking at him and a move does work out but, first and foremost, he needs to concentrate on what he’s doing at Swindon and try to get a regular starting spot in the team.’

Where might Odimayo fit in with Danny Cowley’s plans if he wins a contract?

The head coach has admitted he’d like to add another central defender to his squad.

Clark Robertson, Paul Downing and Sean Raggett are under contract but Cowley would like an additional body.

He said: ‘I like 22 players, that’s two for every position. Even if I got a third goalkeeper it would be for one of them to go out on loan to play.

‘I want another central defender and it’s not progressing as quickly as I would like, that’s the truth.’