Portsmouth Academy coach appointed new Fratton Park kitman - after coaching career at Bristol Rovers, Oxford United, Wimbledon, Torquay and Eastleigh

Kev McCormack’s role as Pompey kitman has been filled – by a long-serving Academy coach.

Shaun North has totalled more than two decades of sterling service with the Blues’ youth set-up.

During two lengthy spells, he has been instrumental in the development of the likes of Gary O’Neil, Matt Ritchie, Joel Ward, Asmir Begovic, Ben Close, Conor Chaplin and Jack Whatmough.

Now the 59-year-old has stepped away from Academy coaching duties to become only Pompey’s third kitman in more than half a century.

However, the popular Welshman continues to remain at Fratton Park as assistant kitman, albeit keeping him out of match-day duties but remaining at the training ground.

McCormack’s final game was last month’s League One opener at Fleetwood, with North officially taking the reins for the Carabao Cup trip to Millwall.

North’s strong association with Pompey stretches back to dad, Roger, who headed the hugely successful Isle of Wight centre of excellence.

Shaun North (right) has replaced Kev McCormack as Pompey's kitman

Following his first coaching spell at Fratton Park which ended in 2007, Shaun North served as Oxford United’s reserve-team manager and then first-team coach at Torquay.

He was appointed Paul Buckle’s assistant manager at Bristol Rovers in the summer of 2011 and was caretaker boss when they faced Aston Villa in the FA Cup in January 2012.

After leaving Rovers in April 2013, he worked as Under-21s development coach at AFC Wimbledon and then first-team coach at Cheltenham.

There were also spells coaching at Gosport and Weymouth, serving as Eastbourne’s Academy manager, while he also spent six month as Eastleigh’s assistant manager.

After 22 years as Pompey kitman, Kev McCormack handed over the reins to Shaun North following last month's opening-day win at Fleetwood

However, North would return to Pompey’s Academy for another lengthy period and was last season the under-15s and 16s coach.

Now he has chosen a new Fratton Park role as his long and successful association with Pompey continues.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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