Kelly: Result is not Pompey Academy’s priority

Pompey Academy boss Mark Kelly          Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey Academy boss Mark Kelly Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey boss Kenny Jackett. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey boss discusses recruitment process

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Mark Kelly dismissed Pompey Academy’s disappointing end to their Youth Alliance League south west division and reiterated: Individual development comes before results.

The Blues’ under-18s side had been in with a shout of title glory with three games to play, only to suffer a trio of defeats to end the campaign in sixth place.

In doing so, Pompey’s youngsters failed to qualify for Merit League 1, comprising the best teams from their own league and the neighbouring south east division.

Goal difference instead dictated they will now finish this term in Merit League 2.

Academy boss Kelly, though, was quick to keep the bigger picture in mind and explained the thought process that played a part in recent results.

He said: ‘If my whole purpose in life was to go out and win the league and not look at individual development then I am sure we probably would have won the league by 15 points.

‘But the fact of the matter is that we are looking after individuals – we are pushing people and we are giving people challenges at the right time.

‘That is exactly what youth development is all about.

‘It’s not about people coming away and looking good for their own egos.

‘That’s sometimes the braver thing to remember from a coaching staff point of view.

‘All of the kids want to win but sometimes we set them challenges that are big challlenges.

‘We have got under-16s involved and others involved in there but that’s their own personal challenge that they have got to rise to.

‘And that’s what it is – that’s what it is about.

‘It’s not something you need to sit there and wonder: “What’s going on there?” – it’s not that process.

‘And that’s what people have to get into their heads very, very quickly.’

Pompey Academy resume competitive action next weekend in Merit League 2, with decisions to be made on which second-year scholars turn professional an ongoing process.

Kelly added: ‘Myself and Paul (manager Cook) talk all of the time.

‘Looking at the group of second years, we are coming up to that time of the year.

‘There are some who are doing themselves favours at this moment in time.

‘But all of the lads are working hard to achieve what they want to achieve.

‘There’s still a lot of things to work through, though, including education programmes.

‘It may be a couple of months before we conclude the process.’

– JEFF MARSHMAN