Hinchcliffe comes highly recommended

Melville’s latest Welsh import is keen to make an early impression in Melville’s 2017 northern league campaign.

Patrick Hinchcliffe, a powerful box to box midfielder with a knack for scoring goals, has shipped in after three years of senior football with Denbigh Town and Ruthin Town in the Welsh Alliance League.

The 19-year-old comes highly recommended by former Melville reserve team coach Andy Edwards, who is now a key figure on the Ruthin Town FC board.

And Hinchcliffe is anxious to live up to his advance billing and build on his two pre-season headed goals.

“It’s taken me a while to adjust to the harder pitches, but I’m right now,” Hinchcliffe said. “For me the first thing to be taken care of is to nail down a starting spot, with about six of us battling for three positions.

“It’s been most competitive in training since I have arrived and it’s fair to say the standard is better that I expected it to be.

“With the competitiveness of the squad the club deserves to be in the top league, and I think we will have failed if Melville don’t go straight back up (to northern premier league).”

Hinchcliffe is well-travelled for a teenager.

Last year he went to the US to coach for three months in Florida, where he also worked as a lifeguard. Prior to that he played for Welsh Colleges in an U-18 tournament in Rome, and also represented his country in Centenary Shield matches, contested against Northern Ireland, Ireland, Scotland and England.

He’s been impressed with the Gower Park set-up.

“What struck me most when I arrived was the atmosphere, and how committed everyone is,” he said.

“We came down for training on a Wednesday, then a Thursday, and it felt like a family outfit, but also seemed very professional at the same time. The bar was open afterwards and there were lots of people on hand, and everyone was friendly.

“It’s a set-up you’d struggle to get back home. Others who have been over here had said what to expect, but I still couldn’t believe it when I first saw the No 1 pitch. It was like a carpet, and because of that you are able to play a completely different game.

“It’s a pitch you would only see in pro football in Wales.”

As a 13 and 14-year-old Hinchcliffe was with Oldham Athletic, 90 minutes away from his hometown.

Hinchcliffe is a big Liverpool fan, with his favourite players being Steven Gerrard and Zinedine Zidane.

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