Like a phoenix rising from the ashes of a disastrous first 18-months at Portsmouth, Reeco Hackett-Fairchild has been a man reborn since new Pompey boss Danny Cowley took the helm.

For a player that was so often shunned during the Kenny Jackett era, it would have been easy for the former Bromley man to turn his back on the south coast and seek pastures new.

Yet the 23-year-old has done quite the opposite, and after being promised a clean slate by Cowley to prove his Pompey worth, Hackett-Fairchild hasn’t looked back.

Having paired some fine pre-season performances with a two-goal tally, he may have felt like he had an outside chance of making the starting XI in Pompey’s season opener against Fleetwood.

And while he was resigned to a short substitute cameo against the Cod Army, Hackett-Fairchild finally got the chance that he had so craved on Tuesday night as Pompey travelled to Millwall in what was an old school cup classic.

It took the winger all of four minutes to work his way into space before crashing a thunderous effort past the helpless George Long in the Millwall goal, sending the travelling supporters into pandemonium.

Whilst the Blue Army’s celebrations were soon extinguished by two quickfire Millwall goals, Hackett-Fairchild continued to impress against Championship opposition, and he came agonisingly close to taking the game to extra-time but for some heroic defending on the line.

Despite the result, Hackett-Fairchild was the name on every Pompey fan’s lips, and even Cowley admitted that he too was excited by the Londoner’s promise.

Following a drab opening day performance that saw Portsmouth look largely laboured despite the win, this weekend’s clash with Crewe could be the perfect time to let loose Pompey’s secret weapon a finally reap the rewards from this once forgotten star.