Often Partisan

Hancox or Gordon?

Despite Sky Sports announcing prior to Blues game in Munich that they had completed the signing of Chelsea’s young left back Ben Gordon the move hasn’t actually come to fruition yet. With young Academy left back Mitch Hancox impressing in both pre-season games so far for the first team, the question is starting to be asked – do we need  Ben Gordon?

I should declare straight away that I’m a huge fan of Mitch Hancox. I’ve always liked an attacking full back – and Mitch fits that criteria nicely – but Hancox plays with the passion and the pride that I think comes only from being a Bluenose. His determination and aggression have gotten him into some scrapes – the scar above his nose is the result of him trying to rescue a game against Leamington last year and steaming into the goalie’s foot with his face – but it also brought him eleven goals last year and one this year against Shrewsbury.

It also has to be said that Hancox has been impressive in his 135 minutes of pre-season football this year. Mitch has known he’s had to kick on – especially as he is only contracted until Christmas – and it appears he has taken the chance to train and play with the first team with both hands. He’s still raw – especially defensively, and his height might count a little against him but he has made some good passes, some good crosses and some great runs taking him into the area screaming for the ball.

However this has to be tempered. The one thing that is absolutely crucial in his development now is consistency – can he do it week in, week out and not just off the rush of adrenaline? At the moment Hancox is busting a gut to impress and he’s doing that – but once the bar has been reached and set at a high level the next challenge is to keep hitting that level week in week out. I’m not saying Mitch won’t do it – just that it will be hard for him to do so. It’s the making and breaking of many youth team players as it’s not just about technical skill any more but also the mental strength to be able to take the knock backs, the stress and the detractors and keep turning out performances of the required quality.

So what do Blues do? I think Hancox is probably ready to be backup – but I also think he needs games to improve. Loaning out players is tricky because the most important thing for them is that they are to get game time – and that doesn’t always happen. If there is a team out there willing to take him for a couple of months and who will play Hancox week in, week out then I think it would be a good move for him. At Shrewsbury Hancox showed one of his weaknesses when he was just bumped off the ball by a fullback whilst attacking and he needs to play at a level high enough to learn to cope with the physical demands of being a first teamer. However, I don’t think we should loan him out for the sake of it – a spell warming the bench for some lower team club isn’t going to help him at all.

It’s also my belief that Hancox is deserving of more than a six month contract. He’s only 18 and I think Blues release too many players too soon. If he keeps showing this level of improvement over the next month I’d say he’s done enough to earn a deal until the end of the year.

Would I sign Ben Gordon? Maybe – we do need cover at full back and I don’t think it would hurt Blues or Mitch Hancox too much. However, I also wouldn’t be too scared about giving Mitch a run in the Capital One Cup game against Barnet should he be needed. It’ll be interesting to see which way Lee Clark goes.

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25 Responses to “Hancox or Gordon?”

  • Benno says:

    good points, well made.

    I am wondering about whether he could also be good cover for LM, Murphy always looks better when he has a LM in front of him who knows how to cover back.

    Hancox also looked like he knew what he was doing going forward in Munich, and doubly so against shrewsbury.

    its not as if we have many options at LM either.

  • bluenoseneil says:

    I think the answer to the question is yes, both.

    We need to nurture Hancox and give him a chance to shine, even more than he has already. However, we also need Gordon too as we have no natural Left Back choices if Murphy gets a knock or needs a rest. YES certain players can fill in, but why would we do that when we have 2 left footed playing options available to us?

    I am looking forward to seeing all of the youngsters in action this season one way or another, and the less we farm out to bench warm, the better, as they can gain valuable experience as subs, cover and being involved in any cup runs we have….as well as giving Lee Clark something to think about if they start out-performing against senior players.


  • Bluebird says:

    You mention “his height might count a little against him” even though he has many qualities –
    And I know that you are not levelling that as a criticism –
    However, Ashley Cole is not the tallest of players but he makes up for it in so many other ways in his professional abilities –
    It will be interesting to see how these youngsters develop –
    Strangely exciting times at Blues – who’d have believed it?

  • daddyblue says:

    Totally agree with you Almajir also Benno and Bluebird make very good points. Why would Gordon ( he’s alive) won’t to come here to be an understudy, it don’t make sense, unless he has been told we will sign him if it works out mmm Kro4ever

    • nick wicky says:

      apparrently daddyblue gorden isn’t wanted at chelsea and is looking for another club. so if he likes it at blues then theres the possibility blues could get him on the cheap!

  • willvbcfc says:

    Was watching the Shrewsbury highlights on Blues Player and thought ‘wow, we’ve got Philipp Lahm at left back!’ Same diminutive size, fair hair and pace – could do with a little more strength, though!

    • Oldbluenose says:

      I see that Mich’s age is quoted as 18, He may still add ” bulk ” and maybe another inch or so, ?.

      I would certainly like to see more of our youngsters given a run-out in the squad, but problem seems to be we are NOT in any type of regular reserve league, !!.

  • pierre says:

    ,cannot comment on the chelsea lad ,nor in truth hancox,but if (god forbid) murphy got another serious injury would he be good enough as first choice cover.

  • Coly says:

    It’s one thing having decent games in meaningless friendliesand for the ressies or Youth team. There’ll be a reason Hughton only gave him a 6 month deal, he would have seen him day in, day out against the senior players and made a judgement. (With regard to releasing players too early, who would you say has gone on to make us regret letting them go?)

    If we were to loan him and he ended up warming the bench in League 2 surely that would tell you that he’s not ready to be 1st back up for us.

    Don’t get me wrong, I hope he does make it and turns out to be a great player for us, but I think everyone should calm down and not get carried away after 1 and half friendlies just because he’s a blues fan. (I mean, look at Carter !)

    It would makem sense to loan Gordon as back up for 6 months, look where they both are in January, if Hancox is ready send Gordon back, if not keeps Gordon on and reassess again in the summer.

    • nick wicky says:

      You can’t judge Darren Carter on 30 mins in 18 months. look at N’Daw when he first came to blues he was awafull,but after he got fit he was a decent player!

      • Coly says:

        I’m not, i’m basing it on 50 odd games for the blues and how his career has progressed (or not) since.

        Equally he cannot be judged on one penalty kick.

        • nick wicky says:

          Basically coly hes been playing lower division football because thats the only clubs who’d give him a contract cause sullivan and gold flogged him off after 50 games to make a quick buck so he never got a chance to prove himself at the top level. N’Daw was pretty awfull when he came to bluesbut after he got fit he turned into a half decent player. a fit carter could do a job in midfield and if he was given the chance he may be able to do a job in the premier. He’s not fit at the moment but the other players seem to have taken to him and are calling for the manager to sign him up! From what i’ve seen on blues tv he didn’t dotoo badly considering what he’s been through and his fitness.

  • Euston 9.18 says:

    How about moving Murphy forward,left midfield/winger.

    Has the pace,can cross a decent ball & also scores goals.

    Then let Gordon & Hancox fight it out for the L/back slot.

    • Oldbluenose says:

      Hancox admits that his defensive abilities need honing, !!.

      Playing hancox in front of Murphy may work for both of them perhaps, ?.

    • nick wicky says:

      yeh Murphy could play left midfield or Hancox or we could go and get Townsend again or somone like him. If we used the players that are already here then Blues wouldn’t need to spend money on loans!

  • Bluenose Drew says:

    11 goals last season for a left back? Impressive even if it was at a low level but I think as long as David Murphy is at the club the left back position is his. Regarding the cover for the position then I think Hancox can do the job. Why should we improve another club’s left back instead of improving our own?

  • jazzzy786 says:

    Hancox has really impressed me but we need real cover and Gordon who is a pacy and strong defender would be a good signing. We are really short on left sided players and if we can sign a good young player like Gordon for about 500k it would be an excellent buy. Hancox is IMO not quite ready to take the LB berth week in week out if Murphy picked up a serious injury but Gordon who has played a lot more first team football should be. I’d love to see Hancox given a decent run out in the first team at left wing. With Burke on the other wing we could have two goalscoring wingers. I still see Redmond as a right winger or secondary striker. It will be interesting to see where LC plays Lovenkrands as I see him as a left winger too.

    • nick wicky says:

      great idea jazz,and it would give him first team experience,and bring him on like Redmond!

      • nick wicky says:

        Jazz i don’t think LC has brought Lovenkrands in as a winger.i think he’s brought him in as a prolific striker to increase blues goal tally! he scored 13 for newcastle in the championship just from home games.

  • bcfc says:

    I thought ndaw was awful just a good tackler that’s about it

  • jazzzy786 says:

    Lovenkrands is as close to a left winger that we have at the club. I know he wants to play CF and that’s probably where LC will play him. Redmond, Elliot, Fahey, Ambrose etc are not left wingers. I’d love us to get Townsend back on loan I thought he was excellent. Without a proper left winger I can see everything shunted to the right and teams quickly sussing out that stopping Burke stops us.

    • nick wicky says:

      I’m sure LC is not going to let the team become unbalanced. If we don’t get Townsend then we’ll probably get someone else as good or better. Thats if he doesn’t decide to go with the young lads in midfield, but that might be too much to ask of them!

  • jazzzy786 says:

    Also in the mix for the LB spot is Lee Baylor still on trial with us. He will play against Cheltenham today. At 32 he may be the wrong sort of age but on a short contract he may be just the sort of experienced cover we need.

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