Portsmouth coach gives an insight into his new recruitment role at Fratton Park

Mark Kelly is excited to help Pompey in their quest to unearth the next non-league talent.
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And the new player development coach believes his experience to spot youngsters who will be able to cope with the physical demands of League One in the future can benefit the Blues.

Kelly's moved into his new role from academy manager as Pompey look to bridge the gap between the youth and first team.

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It comes as the looming potential salary cap implementation will restrict League One squads to a maximum of 22 players above the age of 21.

Not only will Kelly be in charge of players in the under-19 to under-23 age groups, but he's also be helping with recruitment

Working with department chief Phil Boardman and head of European scouting Roberto Gagliardi, the former winger is tasked with spotting youngsters that could make a breakthrough at Fratton Park.

Having worked in youth football for a significant period, he feels he has the nous to spot a rough diamond.

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They could either be plying their trade in the non-league scene or across borders such as Ireland.

Pompey coach Mark Kelly. Picture: Joe PeplerPompey coach Mark Kelly. Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey coach Mark Kelly. Picture: Joe Pepler

Kelly said: ‘I sit with the recruitment boys quite a bit now.

‘We will start earmarking possible young talent whether it's in non-league or in Ireland.

‘We'll start planning and plotting around that and seeing if there are lads out there that we can develop.

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‘I'll be spending time with the recruitment team, seeing who they've been looking at and if they need eyes over at a game to go and have a look.

‘Getting eyes on the ground is going to be vitally important as well now.

‘Obviously, the recruitment boys get out but it'll be nice for one of the technical team to get out to a game and it gives people more time.

‘It’s not just boys who are 16 and 17. Even players at the age of 19 and 20, you're looking them and thinking: “How are they going to grow? How will they look like and shape up in the future?”.

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‘I'm not patting myself on the back but it's one thing that I've always been pretty good at.

‘It's quite a strong asset of mine to think about how players will develop.’

Pompey signed Reeco Hackett-Fairchild from National League side Bromley for an undisclosed fee in January.

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