Kelly delight at return to old Pompey job

Mark Kelly. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (131047-3579)
Mark Kelly. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (131047-3579)

Mark Kelly settled into his old youth team seat and insisted: It’s great to be back.

The 44-year-old has been appointed Pompey’s new Academy manager, succeeding Andy Awford in the role.

It’s a return to familiar surroundings for Kelly, who was originally in the job when the club achieved Academy status in July 2007.

Also formerly Blues centre of excellence boss and Bournemouth youth team manager, Kelly possesses a wealth of experience.

And having stepped up from coaching the eight to 11-year-olds at Fratton Park, the ex-Pompey winger is relishing his role once again.

He said: ‘It’s great to be back and doing that role once again.

‘But it is a little bit different this time because it is us together, guys I’ve played with and worked with who know the club at all levels.

‘There will be a lot of communication and integration between the groups, with proper conversations between managerial staff up and down the club.

‘As a group we are very, very experienced at all levels and work well together.

‘Awfs asked me to come back in about two-and-a-half years ago and I became involved in Academy recruitment as well as coaching.

‘In recent times I have been head coach of the eight to 11 programme, while I also took over the youth team temporarily at the end of last season for the final couple of months when Paul Hardyman moved up.

‘Now I’m back doing the job again and I’m really looking forward to helping the club progress.’

As a player for Pompey, Kelly made 55 appearances, scoring twice and also represented the Republic of Ireland.