Wessex League youngster determined not to let Covid-19 crisis wreck his dream of making it in the professional game

Patrik Hnath is determined not to let the coronavirus pandemic derail his dream of making it in the professional game.

Friday, 3rd April 2020, 2:25 pm
Updated Sunday, 26th April 2020, 3:11 pm
Patrik Hnath. Picture: Jordan Colborne

The AFC Portchester youngster has attracted the interest of a trio of Football League clubs after rising from youth team football to senior level this season.

A string of fine displays in the Royals first team, where he has netted three times in 13 matches, prompted clubs from the top three tiers of English football to offer him a trial - AFC Bournemouth, Reading and Portsmouth.

The 17-year-old, who moved to England from Germany lasy September to begin studying a level 3 sports and sports science diploma at Fareham College, had brief spells with the Cherries and Pompey.

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However, Hnath spent nearly a month with the Royals' under-18s and made an impression.

Along with training, he featured in four matches for Reading's young guns - netting in his final game.

The Championship outfit were weighing up whether to offer him a deal but at this stage of the season, and now with all football shutdown due to the Covid-19 outbreak, they opted against it.

It was planned for him to return to Portsmouth for the Blues to have another look, but that has also been scuppered given the current situation.

But Hnath plans to remain positive and keep himself ticking over so he is ready if and when another chance to showcase his talents to a professional club arise again.

‘It was brilliant (the Reading trial),' he beamed.

‘It was the best experience in my eyes, I was really glad to have it.

‘I have not heard personally from Reading or Pompey. I’ve only heard from my coach that they want me back.

‘Reading want me back, they told me that. They’re going to keep an eye on me.

‘It was just unfortunate I didn’t get the deal because they couldn’t offer me anything at the moment with everything going on.

‘We just have to take it, be patient and wait for the time to come.'

Hnath has an Ecuadorian mother and Slovakian father, and is currently living with his dad in Portsmouth.

He originally moved to the city for around five years from the age of four before settling in Germany prior to coming back to the UK.

The winger admitted being handed these trials was not something he was expecting. But he thanked lecturer and Portchester team-mate Alex Baldacchino, manager Mick Catlin and chairman Paul Kelly for their support since joining the Royals.

‘My coaches and especially my team-mate and lecturer Alex has helped me a lot,' Hnath revealed.

‘My coach, Mick Catlin, and Alex have helped me out and the chairman, Paul Kelly, organised the trials with Reading.

‘They reached out to Reading because of the connections with Andy Rinomhota.

‘I didn’t expect any of it, getting trials with some of these academies.

‘Now I’m giving it a shot and seeing where I can get with both education and football.’

Hnath’s first senior goal for Portchester arrived last November against Denmead in the Portsmouth Senior Cup.

He has subsequently scored in Wessex League victories against Cowes and Tadley Calleva.