Portsmouth record holder steps up his comeback

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While 16-year-old Haji Mnoga tastes first-team football, Pompey’s record holder has finally hit the comeback trail.

Joe Hancott became the youngest debutant in the club’s post-war history when he featured against Fulham under-21s in August 2017.

Pompey record-holder Joe Hancott is on the comeback trail following injury. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey record-holder Joe Hancott is on the comeback trail following injury. Picture: Joe Pepler

The left-back was aged 16 years, five months and nine days for the Checkatrade Trophy clash, eclipsing Gary O’Neil’s January 2000 feat.

That is 15 days younger than Mnoga’s Blues bow on Tuesday night against Crawley.

However, Hancott has yet to play for the Academy this season after sustaining a broken toe.

The Isle of Wight youngster made 33 youth-team appearances last campaign, although he didn’t return to the first-team squad.

Now the second-year scholar is ready to kick on again following injury.

Academy boss Mark Kelly said: ‘Joe is on the way back after breaking his toe in pre-season. It’s one of those metatarsal problems that hang around for a long time.

‘He’s just getting back into it now. He’s into his first full week of training, so hopefully we’ll get him back into the game’s programme next week.

‘It’s quite a bad break considering where it was, one of those little awkward ones which takes time to heal and time to clear up.

‘He hasn’t really been out training since pre-season, we just need to get him moving and running again and back into the programme.

‘Joe is developing nicely, unfortunately he’s had this little stutter and missing around two-and-a-half months has been quite hard for him. It was a real setback.

‘He’s managed it well, he’s a good kid in that way, he hasn’t got too down with it. Now we can get him back on the pitch and start performing again.

‘I’m looking forward to having him back.’

Hancott’s sole pre-season involvement with the senior side in the summer was as an unused substitute in a Pompey XI fixture at Gosport.

The 3-0 Blues victory at Privett Park saw Mnoga introduced at half-time for right-back Harry Kavanagh.

Not long after, Hancott sustained the injury which has hampered his availability so far this term.

Tuesday night’s Checkatrade Trophy trip to Crawley also saw another Academy presence, with Freddie Read on the bench.

The midfielder is a second-year scholar and featured during Pompey’s Irish pre-season training camp. Read also played 45 minutes against Cork City.