The impact former Bournemouth, Nottingham Forest and Bristol City boss Sean O'Driscoll has had at Portsmouth

Mark Kelly has explained the impact Sean O'Driscoll has had at Pompey.
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The former Bournemouth, Nottingham Forest and Bristol City manager was appointed head of coaching and learning for the Blues’ academy last March.

O'Driscoll brought a wealth of experience with him to Fratton Park, having also been assistant boss to Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool for a brief period.

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Kelly and his youth staff have been putting an emphasis on the fledgling talent building independence off the pitch.

They believe translates into decision-making in games as well as having long-term benefits.

That included a week-long training camp with the Royal Navy at HMS Temeraire during pre-season.

And O’Driscoll has been a key part of the process.

Academy chief Kelly told Pompey’s website: ‘Sean has come in and his title is head of coaching and learning.

Sean O'Driscoll. Picture: Habibur RahmanSean O'Driscoll. Picture: Habibur Rahman
Sean O'Driscoll. Picture: Habibur Rahman
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‘We’ve gone round a behavioural model and looking how we get a bit more independent learning.

‘Sean has got massive experience with that and we looked at how we can change it and get a bit more independence out the players and their performances.

'Sean has been heavily involved in that process with learning plans. We've seen some really good outcomes and I’m really pleased with the work that has been going on.’

Pompey Academy underwent numerous tasks while training with the navy – from physical challenges to life lessons such as cooking.

Pompey academy boss Mark Kelly. Picture: Joe PeplerPompey academy boss Mark Kelly. Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey academy boss Mark Kelly. Picture: Joe Pepler
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The young Blues recently finished third in the Youth Alliance south west division, which means they'll compete in Merit League One during the second half of the campaign.

Kelly added: ‘At the end of the day, trying to build resilient, young men is massive because football is tough and a hard-old life.

‘Disciplines behind it all is massive and it was really good to expose them to different challenges, so it was really good.

‘We’ll keep it in the programme and build on it. It’s about where they are, where they need to build and the challenges they face on an individual basis.

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‘There's honesty behind it and us trying to align it with the players to come out with the outcomes. The players have become more disciplined and self-aware.

‘I set a challenge to the staff saying “can we create a bit more independent learning?”

‘A coach can deliver certain things but things happen on football pitches and you come up against challenges all over the place.

‘Trying to be a bit more self-independent has been a real format. As soon as they walk across the white line, those are the challenges they face.

‘Day in, day out those are the challenges they’ll face and it'll be a major part of their lives. ‘