Kelly: Massive interest in Pompey youth role

Pompey boss Kenny Jackett, left, and Academy chief Mark Kelly. Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey boss Kenny Jackett, left, and Academy chief Mark Kelly. Picture: Joe Pepler
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Mark Kelly revealed there has been massive interest in the vacant lead professional development phase coach role at Pompey Academy.

But the Blues’ youth chief has insisted he will take his time over appointing a new under-18s coach.

Popular figure Mikey Harris left the club earlier this week after three-and-a-half years in the job.

The 32-year-old will take up a similar role at Brighton & Hove Albion.

Given Pompey’s recent record developing youth players into the first team, it’s no surprise the under-18s job has attracted plenty of applications.

But Kelly is in no rush to make a decision.

He said: ‘I’m getting CVs in from all over the place at the moment and I’ll take my time to see who we will bring in.

‘We’ve got good staff around and there’s no panicking – it’s a matter of getting it right.

‘We’ve got good people around and that’s always how it has been.

‘There’s a massive interest in the job – as you would expect with a club like ours.

‘But we’re not rushing and have to get it right.’

Kelly has been out on the training ground helping out Liam Daish, Shaun North and Scott Green with the under-18s.

The young Blues take on Bristol Rovers at Furze Lane tomorrow (11am), while some of them will play for the reserves in the Premier League Cup against Barnsley at Westleigh Park on Wednesday (7pm).

‘We’ve got a strong set-up here,’ Kelly added.

‘I’m out on the grass quite a lot at the moment with Daishy, Shaun and Greeny.

‘All those boys who have pushed through into the first team have come through Greeny.

‘Mark Chamberlain and him have worked hard to get the boys ready for the full-time environment.

‘There is a lot of bodies across it. Mikey was a big part of a strong coaching team.

‘It’s nice for me to get out on the grass – which I did anyway – but it’s more prevalent and I’m doing it a bit more now.’