In the Hunt for a start – does Alex Hunt deserve a chance from the off?

Hunt in FA Cup action against Gabriel Jesus of Manchester City. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

The 20-year-old midfielder was introduced to the action against Forest in the 83rd minute and provided an instant impact with fresh legs in the engine room. 

Albeit in a 12-minute spell, Alex Hunt had 100% passing accuracy with few being simple to execute, sideways and backwards passes. Instead he was expansive, adventurous and instrumental in earning Wednesday’s 93rd minute corner which led to Connor Wickham’s equaliser.

Hunt, who joined the club as a 7-year-old, has risen through the academy at Middlewood Road and made his debut under Jos Luhukay at The Stadium of Light in the Carabao Cup against Sunderland at the outset of the 2018/19 campaign.

His first half outing in the North East would prove to be the only first team minutes the then 18-year-old would receive last term. He was an unused substitute for both the defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers in the following round of the competition and The Owls’ Championship home tie against Hull City.

This season though, the academy graduate has been a regular in Monk’s squad, particularly in 2020 where he has been on the bench in seven of the last 10 games.

Barry Bannan has taken his midfield counterpart under his wing in the last few months, and clearly rates him very highly which bodes well for the future.

So highly in fact that when Bannan’s agent (SMI Sports Management) asked him if any of the current crop of young Owls are worth keeping an eye on the Scottish international told his representative to get understudy Hunt signed up, which they duly did.

As well as keeping a regular place on the bench, Hunt has featured twice as a substitute in the FA Cup

First in the 2-1 victory over Queens Park Rangers in January where he got 36 minutes under his belt and following this he got just under half an hour against Premier League champions Manchester City in the fifth round, not for one moment did he look out of his depth when he came up against a sea of international stars.

His first Championship minutes of the season did in fact come against Forest on Saturday, but again he impressed and with Monk opting with three midfield men, Hunt could prove to be the perfect replacement for Kieran Lee, both of whom are very apt at playing the box to box midfield role, linking up play between defence and attack.

While Lee has signed a short-term extension to see him stay at the club until the end of the current campaign, his eight-year stint at Hillsborough could well be coming to an end, just as Hunt’s is beginning.