New role for former Blues winger
Mark Kelly has been appointed Pompey’s new academy manager.
The Blues needed someone to run the club’s youth-set up following Andy Awford’s appointment as first team manager at the end of last season.
Dan Butler, Jed Wallace, Adam Webster and Jack Whatmough have all made their way through the ranks and into the senior side in recent years.
And former Blues winger Kelly, who was already on the academy coaching staff, is looking to help more Pompey prospects make the step up.
He said: “I was here in the same capacity a few years ago, so it’s nice to be back in the role and trying to help our youth system move forward.
“It’s vital that the production line continues and that we can build on all the work done by Awfs and Hardy.
“We’ll all sit down together, have a cup of tea and a proper discussion about things.
“It’s an exciting time at the football club and it’s important that the academy department is a part of that.
“We have to keep the good work going and try to improve on the success we’ve had in recent years.”
Kelly believes the reintroduction of a reserve side this season will help bridge the gap between the youth and first teams.
He said: “It will really benefit the structure of the club. It will challenge the young boys in a lot of ways because those that are doing well will be able to step up.
“It will be a great experience for our younger players to train and play alongside the pros at the club.
“Some of the under-16s can then step up into the youth team, so it means that everyone has an opportunity to progress.”
Blues boss Awford added: "When I became manager it left a gap in the academy and we believe that Mark is the best person to fill that.
"He can move the academy forward and build on the good work we've achieved in the last few years."