Often Partisan

Handing it to Hancox

Whilst this has been an unpleasant season in the main because of the results on the pitch there have been a couple of positives – namely the emergence of two talents from the Academy in Will Packwood and Mitch Hancox. Having covered the emergence of the American defender last month I thought I would turn my attention to local boy Mitch Hancox.

Mitch got his second run out in the team on Saturday, coming on in the 85th minute for David Murphy who had picked up a knock. As I said in my match report, his cameo was very good; putting in two useful crosses, continually providing an outlet down the left and giving Blues an extra dimension as they threw players forwards looking for an equaliser.

Having only earnt a six month contract in the summer, and seen first Ben Gordon and then Paul Robinson in as cover for his favoured position must have been hard on young Hancox. However, I think it’s testament to the kid that he’s now pushed in front of Gordon for a place in the matchday squad; has earnt himself a deal until the end of the season but most importantly got match time on the pitch. I’ve always been impressed with Mitch’s attitude and drive and it’s been evident that he is determined to push on further after making his first team bow.

I’ve seen the young left-back play a number of times for the reserves and the u18 side. He’s always struck me as a bit of a rough diamond; for example against Antwerp in pre-season he needlessly gave away a penalty and looked very raw down the left but he didn’t stop running throughout the game. However, his attacking instincts are unparalleled – despite playing from either full back or on the wing Hancox got 11 goals for the u18/reserve sides. Mitch has always been ready to run at the right-back and to take on players and he possesses a mean left foot which can be absolutely deadly.

With Blues struggling for pace within the side and left-footed players in general I reckon I’m not alone in thinking that Hancox may be an answer to the wide left issue Blues have. In his most recent reserve game away at Coventry I took particular notice of Hancox playing in that position and he was very, very good. He tormented his full back, with the defender not knowing if he would go outside or inside; he got some good balls in and was unlucky not to score with a couple of beastly thunderbolts hit with that left peg.

It’s a big step up from ressie to first team football but I’m beginning to wonder if it’s a chance Lee Clark should take. Blues struggle at home to play against teams with pace and they can look slow and ponderous as teams sit back and wait for the attacks before countering. Having a genuinely left-footed player on the left flank who is prepared to run at his full back each time is going to at the worst pin one side of the opposition further back than normal; at best it could well be that Mitch is a creative outlet for Blues.

With the loan deadline coming tomorrow I honestly cannot see Blues signing anyone else in (despite giving another month to the unplayed 34 year old Papa Bouba Diop) and with this in mind it strikes me that Clark is going to have to utilise some of the younger talent he has to help solve some of the problems with the squad. I’m pretty sure Mitch Hancox isn’t the messiah himself but I do think he could do a good enough job to give Blues options – and I believe giving more time to younger homegrown players might buy Lee Clark a little more favour with the fans.

Talking Points sponsored by John Hicken Industrial roofing and cladding materials


23 Responses to “Handing it to Hancox”

  • RUPERT says:

    I think this lad could be a very good player. I am slightly woried however in bringing too many kids forward due to the lack of 1 money available to sign players. Do you remember Gary Pendry had the same problems and had to bring in players that just were not good enough? The mighty Richie Moran being one!!!!!!!

  • nick says:

    I also saw Mitch at Coventry last week in the u21 game and was highly impressed, he turned their right back inside out, got some great crosses in and a couple of fierce shots bp well. I’d love to see him get a full game in the first team, or at least a full half.

  • Grizzly says:

    Another advantage of having a player like Mitch on the left is that it would stop teams from doubling up on Burke, Redmond or whoever is on the right wing.

  • Jay says:

    Richie Moran was signed by Dave Mackay not Pendry.

    My memory of him being he was substituted in a pre-season friendly so he could attend a wedding, versus Luton Town if memory serves me correctly.

    Pendry had to use the youth team, in fact we once fielded a side with 6 YTS players, and only 5 Pros under Pendry.

  • Paul Carter - The Peoples Favourite says:

    First bad game Hancox has and the boo boys will be at full pelt.

    If Clark picks him and he gets roasted he’ll get slaughtered.

    A shame cos I agree the lad has potential but we need to be sure we don’t start building him up to be the next superkid as we have with Redmond.

    I’d like to se him play in the same side as Fahey to bolster that left hand side.

  • thongs says:

    If Packwood is a footballer then I’m a female bishop. Hancox though has some potential.

  • Paul Carter - The Peoples Favourite says:

    Morning Thongs, did you walk out at 3-0 Saturday or did you stay behind to boo at the end?

    • thongs says:

      Hi Paul, I stayed until the end to voice my disapproval. I enjoyed the game on the whole but I loathe Bruce and Clark so I let them have it at full time. Did you applaud all three Hull goals?

      • Paul Carter - The Peoples Favourite says:

        Nope but I applauded both of ours, clapped the team off at half time because of all the chances they had created then clapped em off at full time due to the great fightback I had seen whilst inwardly cringing at the loud boos from the boo boys.

  • Northern Exile says:

    While the current crop of youngsters is really exciting, it’s not as if Blues haven’t been producing any players at all over the past few years: the club has just been awful at developing them.

    Aluko’s potential was obvious but he was let go for a few beans and pretty effectively showed us what we were missing v Hull. Marcos Painter is now also playing for a league rival (Brighton) after having been let go for next to nothing. Craig Fagan made the Prem with Hull. Mat Sadler is perhaps the only young prospect Blues dealt with smartly over the past 10 years – blooded, given his chance and sold for more than he was worth at the time, eventually finding his level at League 1 or 2 standard.

    My hope is that Blues use the opportunity we now have – albeit for all the wrong reasons – to blood some of these youngsters and get a better idea of who might just make it before selling them off to the first club that offers a fee.

    • almajir says:

      Whilst I agree that Blues have sometimes been too quick to release players I do think people look back at some former youth players with rose-tinted glasses.

      Sone Aluko himself admits he wasn’t good enough at Blues; he needed to move on to develop his career and I’m of the belief that it was only because he played week in week out for Aberdeen that he has achieved what he has. He wouldn’t have got those games at Blues because he simply wasn’t good enough to play week in week out.

      As for Fagan… well, I don’t remember him tearing up trees for Blues either in the reserves and I think there may have been other issues there.

      Painter as I recall played ten or eleven games for us but it was decided he wasn’t quite up to speed.

      I’m sorry if this sounds harsh but in the past if players didn’t get games it was probably in the main because they just weren’t good enough.

      • Paul Carter - The Peoples Favourite says:

        Couldn’t agreee more Dan

      • Northern Exile says:

        I think you’re absolutely right that those players needed playing time away from Blues to develop, especially while Blues were in the Premier League. I’m not saying that I expect youngsters to walk straight into the team.

        My personal preference would be to see top youth prospects given contracts until 22/23 and sent out on long term loans every season; by the time their contracts are up it ought to be obvious where their careers are headed. Bringing players through the ranks is far from a precise science, and for that reason it seems like a massive waste to let a 19 year old go because he doesn’t seem up to speed there and then.

        I concede that it’s best to release a player with a bad attitude mind you, though if he’s just not focused enough then a loan move and exposure to a different environment might help.

        • almajir says:

          I agree with you in the main, but I’d say until 21/22

          One thing I think that the professional development league has done right is to encourage teams to hang on until that sort of age.

  • CORKYBLUE says:

    Saturday was a normal match day for me, got up had breakfast , then the useual tingle had arrived, how are we going to play today, whos playing,what will the score be, all my useual predictions were wrong, but to leave a match early ….never…..My heart… my soul …my life is B.C.F.C…
    The situation at the club scares the life out of me , but all we can do is Keep the faith and hope the whole sorry mess is sorted out A.S.A.P.

    • dino tiltoni says:

      Corkyblue. Think you need more going on in your life! But you’re right, never leave a game early. Seeing people leaving at 3-0 on Saturday was sad and not KRO

  • Mark P says:

    I was just about to say the same Aljamir. Alukp gave an interview to the mail last week saying he would never have made it at the blues because he was not foccused enough and needed to move away to devolp.

    Painter was not good enough at Blues and the fans were not upset when he left and Fagan was playing on the wing at Hull when they got promoted and he thought he was a striker at the blues. He has never been a goalscorer even in the lower leagues.

    As for Mitch he might get his chance now that Murphy is out for 6 weeks. We have no luck with fulbacks do we for the past two seasons?

  • Oldbluenose says:

    If, ?. Centre defence, remains stable for a while, [ Davies and Pablo returnig ], Then with the possibility of Caddis returning and Spector available, Then Robinson back in his favourite position,!!.

    We can then use Hancox where he is most usefull, left midfield, which is our problem area, !!. releasing Elliot, [ where he does NOT fit,] back into centre mid/field or behind a striker where he is more effective, /.

  • walker says:

    In terms of aluko (mr flat foot) last saturday I dont think he was decent I think caldwell is that poor. We made a very average player look like messi. Id rather packwood play over caldwell any day of the week. spector was obviously struggling against the winger so why not swop him with robinson. if your a winger and you have robinson coming for you the chances are you know your gonna get done if you take the p.

  • dino tiltoni says:

    Ii think the reason we leaked those Aluko goals may be down to Robinson’s lack of positional sense at CH more han anyhting. He’s done well for us but so often he’s been out of position. The team is seriously unbalanced when he’s played at RB. HAving him at LB and giving Hancox a chance later on in games, either at LB or LM, would be best.

  • AR says:

    Having seen him early on this season, I thought that though his defensive work as a full-back was not good, he was excellent going forward and should be given a chance to play left midfield. My opinion hasn’t changed.

  • jazzzy786 says:

    I hope LC plays Hancox at LW and Robinson at LB. Robbo has been fantastic since he’s come in but alongside Caldwell they must be amongst the slowest CB pairing in the league. I’d be tempted to play Packwood or Deaman alongside Caldwell if Davies is still injured. The only good thing about having no money is our homegrown players get a chance.

    To the person who made the comment that the boo boys will be on his back if he has a stinker. Quite the opposite I think one of our own will get the crowd excited and will be given more time than say Ben Gordon.

  • Ben-Fre says:

    What about Reilly? He’s got a fit girlfriend!

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