Why Portsmouth expected a battle to sign Reeco Hackett-Fairchild from Bromley - and Charlton were disappointed to lose him

Joe Gallen revealed Pompey were braced for a battle to sign Reeco Hackett-Fairchild when he first came on their radar.

Sunday, 2nd February 2020, 4:30 am
Updated Sunday, 2nd February 2020, 4:30 am
Reeco Hackett-Fairchild in action for Charlton. Picture: Julian Finney/Getty Images

Hackett-Fairchild was one of the stars of the National League during the opening half of the campaign, scoring eight goals in 25 appearances during the Ravens’ promotion push.

His plunders caught the attention of the Blues, with Gallen sent to scout the 21-year-old.

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Reeco Hackett-Fairchild. Picture: Paul Thompson

The assistant manager wasn’t the only one watching Hackett-Fairchild at games, however, with other clubs also running the rule over him.

A hamstring injury the ex-Charlton man suffered meant interest wilted away, although Pompey had already decided they would make a swoop during the January transfer window for him.

He’s made just one appearance to date – against Walsall in the EFL Trophy – with the Blues working on his fitness levels to ensure he's ready for League One action.

And Gallens feels that will be sooner rather than later.

He said: ‘Reeco picked up a hamstring injury at Bromley round about October and then didn’t start many league games prior to us starting him.

‘His fitness levels aren’t what they should be due to that injury. He was back as sub for Bromley around Christmas time.

‘What we're saying to Reeco is firstly he’s got to get fit and then secondly fit to the standard of League One. We pride ourselves on the fitness level of our group.

‘We set targets on what offensive players have to meet and they’re quite high. Reeco is working hard to get up to that level of fitness to play and we’ll see him sooner rather than later.

‘We were pleased in some ways (he got injured) because it meant he wasn't in the shop window. Up until that point, he’d played in a wide area but was top scorer and scored quite a lot of goals.

‘I was at games and everyone was going to watch him play because he’s a young player and has the attributes.

‘It went a bit dead at a good time for us. We’d made our mind up that we'd like to sign Reeco. In some ways, if he’d have carried on playing and scoring (there would have been more interest).

‘We were committed to signing Reeco but knew he had to do a bit fitness-wise. We’re pleased to have signed him and sooner rather than later, he will be involved, although we have some good players.’

Hackett-Fairchild departed Charlton last summer after making 24 appearances.

But according to Gallen, whose brother Steve is director of football at the Valley, the Addicks wanted to keep the ex-Dagenham & Redbridge man.

Now Hackett-Fairchild is valued as an important part of Pompey’s future.

Gallen added: ‘I had seen him play but we didn’t look at him (in the summer).

‘There was a bit of a mess-up with his contract at Charlton and they were pretty disappointed he had to go.

‘My brother is at Charlton and we are pleased to have him. He’s someone who can help us now but we’re more looking at him further down the line, if I’m being honest.’