Latest Portsmouth Academy graduate Joe Hancott challenged to make pre-season impact
Pompey return to pre-season training on June 27.
And a newcomer among the familiar faces has been challenged to swiftly make his mark following academy promotion.
Joe Hancott is among three of Mark Kelly’s latest crop to have been awarded professional deals.
When Kenny Jackett’s squad return for training, he will join fellow graduates Leon Maloney and Bradley Lethbridge in attending.
Maloney and Lethbridge featured in earlier stages of the last term’s Checkatrade Trophy progress.
Yet Hancott’s sole presence was as an unused substitute in the competition at Southend in January.
The left-back became Pompey’s youngest post-war debutant when featuring against Fulham under-21s in August 2017, aged 16 years five months and nine days.
The start of last season was hampered by a broken toe, but the Blues continue to hold him in him in high regard.
And his agent and former Pompey skipper, Brian Howard, believes the future is bright for the Isle Of Wight youngster.
He said: ‘Joe’s a great lad, a really bubbly character and a good, young pro.
‘Unfortunately, he broke a toe in pre-season, so came back late and was always playing catch-up that campaign.
‘Still, he earned his pro contract, which was always his goal, and will work hard in the pre-season.
‘For the first day of pre-season, you have to be at the top with the first-team pros. You are not a youngster any more, you’ve done your two-year apprenticeship, you have to be a professional now.
‘Hopefully, he can have a good pre-season with the first team, then go on one or two loans for the year, go and play men’s football, toughen up a bit.
‘But he's a great size, athletic, a lovely left foot and listens.
‘The first-year pros can still go out on loan and come back and play in the Checkatrade Trophy, so hopefully Joe will be part of a Checkatrade team and also cut his teeth in men’s football.
‘If he does well over the next year and gets his experience, hopefully he’s a future left-back for Pompey.’
Hancott made 18 appearances for the academy last season, scoring once.