DANNY Shittu is hoping to recover from injury in time to come face-to-face with his boyhood hero Sol Campbell.

The defender is set to line up against Campbell if he shakes off a calf strain in time when Wanderers take on Portsmouth.

Shittu grew up just down the road from the former England international, now aged 35, in London’s East End, and the ex-Tottenham and Arsenal star was a huge inspiration on the Whites centre-half as he looked to carve out a career as a professional footballer.

The muscular Nigerian used to watch Campbell on Match of the Day as a youngster – and dreamed of emulating his illustrious career.

And now he is relishing the opportunity of sharing the same pitch as his long-term idol for the first time in his career.

“I used to watch Match of the Day and always thought I was good enough to play in the Premier League,” said Shittu.

“I was about 15 and watched it with my friends and I used to really like Sol Campbell. I think I have the same attributes.

“He was a role model and I wanted to do as well as he had. He spurred me on.

“I can’t wait for us to play against each other and I’m really looking forward to it.”

It has been a difficult season for Shittu following his £2million summer arrival from Watford.

For most of the campaign, he has been forced to wait patiently on the sidelines as Andy O’Brien and Sebastien Puygrenier battled it out to be Gary Cahill’s partner at the heart of the Whites’ defence.

But Frenchman Puygrenier has taken time to adapt to the Premier League after joining on loan from Zenit St Petersburg in January and, coupled with O’Brien’s worrying dip in form, the 28-year-old, who turned down a loan move to Derby, has been given the chance to shine.

And the former QPR and Blackpool centre half has taken it. After coming on as a substitute against West Brom, he kept his place for the 4-1 victory against Middlesbrough before limping off at half-time against Chelsea at the weekend with a calf strain.

Shittu now faces a race to be fit for Pompey - three points worse off than Wanderers having played a game less - at Fratton Park but, with Campbell waiting, it is one he will be desperate to win.