Hammers starlet backed to challenge for Hatters first team spot

Hatters first team coach Hakan Hayrettin has backed on-loan West Ham youngster Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu to push for a place against Alfreton Town in the Skrill Premier on Saturday, writes Mike Simmonds.
Pelly Ruddock MpanzuPelly Ruddock Mpanzu
Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu

The 20-year-old gave a hugely impressive man of the match performance as Town beat Staines Town 2-0 in the FA Trophy on Tuesday night.

Selected in his preferred midfield position, Mpanzu dominated the Skrill South opponents with a display of real energy and power.

Hayrettin said: “Pelly is someone we’ve been keeping our eye on for a long time.

“He gives us some legs in there, he got forward into the box and drove his team on.

“It’s an added plus as lots of teams might not know about him and if he starts, he’s going to cause a few teams a problem.

“He’s got great athleticism, gets up and down the pitch really well and he will be someone who will add to what we’ve already got.

“I certainly hope he does (press for the first team), but that’s the decision for the manager to make.”

After winning the star man award, Mpanzu tweeted afterwards: “Goood 2-0 win over Staines 2day. Fans were great and i happy with my Man of the Match perfomance.”

Hatters striker Mark Cullen had been impressed with Mpanzu, along with other loan signings Joe Davis and Alfie Mawson in their brief time at the club.

He continued: “They all look good signings, even Alfie, who couldn’t play.

“The gaffer wouldn’t have brought them in if he didn’t feel they would add to the team.”

Hatters travel to Alfreton this weekend, a team who are just a point outside of the play-offs after an excellent start to the campaign.

Victory would see Hatters cut the gap to leaders Cambridge to a single point as Hayrettin said: “Alfreton is going to be difficult game, probably like Braintree.

“We’ve got to go there, roll our sleeves up and try to win the game.

“If you look at our record the last couple of months, we’ve done fantastically well and now we need to push on.”

Meanwhile, Cullen is hoping to force his way back into the reckoning after completing two 90 minutes against Staines.

He added: “We’re here to get promoted, so it’s good to get back to basics and get back to league form.

“I haven’t been playing much recently so to get the two 90 minutes is always good.

“I just want to be involved and play as many minutes as I can, whether that be in the cup or trying to get into the first team for the league.

“All I want to do is play, so I need to work hard and show the manager what I can do.”

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