Jackett’s Pompey Academy vision excites Kelly

Pompey Academy boss Mark Kelly
Pompey Academy boss Mark Kelly
Milan Lalkovic celebrates his goal at Newport. Picture: Neil Marshall

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MARK KELLY has given Kenny Jackett’s youthful Pompey vision the thumbs up.

And the Blues Academy boss believes home-grown talent hold an extra advantage going into an exciting new era as they know what it means to play for the club.

Jackett was named the new Pompey manager last week, following Paul Cook’s move to Wigan.

The 55-year-old has already stated he will not be selling any of his prized assets, and placed an emphasis on quality over quantity during the summer transfer window.

The former Millwall and Wolves boss is also willing to give youth a chance as he bids to make use of all resources at his disposal.

Prospective new owner Michael Eisner also outlined a similar vision when he spoke to Pompey Supporters’ Trust shareholders in Portsmouth Guildhall last month.

Kelly is delighted Jackett is set to give the young guns a chance.

And he is looking forward to meeting the new Blues boss and Eisner to outline future strategies.

Kelly said: ‘It is positive to hear the kids knocking on the doors will get an opportunity, which is what you’re hoping for.

‘Recently, Conor Chaplin, Jack Whatmough and Ben Close have done it.

‘Everybody has got to get an opportunity somewhere.

‘That’s how football works and that’s how I got opportunities as a kid.

‘It will be nice to sit down and go through some processes and get some structure and strategy going.

‘It would be good to hear everybody’s thought process.

‘Michael Eisner was talking about the Academy quite a bit when he was here, Kenny is in the process and it’ll be good to all get in a room and work through it.

‘It is vibrant and exciting stuff as the club is in a good place.

‘We believe it is important that lads keep knocking on doors and moving forward.

‘It’s a nice thing where we are – it’s evolving with some of the local boys in and around the team.’

The Blues have seen a number of youngsters graduate through the Academy system in recent years.

Chaplin and Whatmough have cemented their places in the first-team squad, with the latter penning a new two-year deal last week.

Meanwhile, Ben Close is also extending his Pompey stay after agreeing a new one-year contract.

All three witnessed at first hand Pompey’s FA Cup triumph in 2008, as well as recent battles against possible liquidation.

Kelly believes that close connection with the club stands the youngsters in good stead.

He also feels it is important supporters continue to see home-grown talent graduate into the first team.

‘These boys grow up in a system of knowing what the football club is all about, which is sometimes better than players from the outside coming in.

‘They get it, understand the passion of the city and the club – it’s in their heart, as well.

‘Fans also love seeing the young boys coming through.

‘It works, although there’s plenty of effort required to get to the first team.

‘This is a long-term process, but one where we’ve got some really good boys in the system.

‘It’s all there to build on and see the club grow.

‘We need time, consistency and patience.

‘There’s got to be some belief laid down.

‘All of a sudden we’ve seen a “we want it now” culture, which the world is in at the moment.

‘You’ve got to work towards it. Giving them time and patience to flourish is the key.

‘We’ve got to make sure within the system of the club we’re going to get it right.

‘The club need to have all pathways covered and a proper structure for what they
require.’