Cobblers appoint David Kelly as club's new development coach

The Cobblers' new development coach David Kelly (Picture: Matt Derrig)
The Cobblers' new development coach David Kelly (Picture: Matt Derrig)

The Cobblers have appointed former Republic of Ireland, Leicester City and Newcastle United striker David Kelly as the club's new development coach.

The 53-year-old, who likes to be known by his nickname Ned, started work on the first day of pre-season training on Wednesday, and will be handed the task of looking after and improving the club's young players.

There are currently eight teenage youth team graduates in the first team squad, and Kelly's job will be to aid their development, as well as those players currently in the youth set up, working closely with under-18s boss Jon Brady.

Cobblers boss Keith Curle is delighted to welcome Kelly to the club, and said: "David's appointment shows the progression of the football club.

"His emphasis will not only be on the development of the current group of young professionals but also the players coming through behind them too.

“David is very experienced, he has knowledge and experience of working both in a first team environment and with young players. He has had a lot of success both as a coach and as a number two.

"He has a good eye for talent and a good eye for developing players while as a player he played at the highest level and they are excellent credentials to have.

"Anyone who knows David will know that he is very enthusiastic and that enthusiasm rubs off on other people.

"The qualities he brings will add to the changing room here.

"He has bought in to what we are trying to create at the club, we are not the finished article but we are heading the right way, we are improving and David can help us with that progress."

As a player, Kelly was a prolific scorer at all levels of the English game, scoring 260 senior goals over a 19-year career.

He started out at Walsall, before going on to play for West Ham United, Leicester, Newcastle, Wolves, Sunderland, Tranmere, Sheffield United, where he was a team-mate of Curle and Cobblers head of recruitment Simon Tracey, Motherwell and Mansfield.

Birmingham-born Kelly also played international football for the Republic of Ireland, scoring nine goals in 26 appearances, and was in the squad for the 1990 and 1994 World Cups, as well as the European Championships in 1988.

As a coach, Kelly has been assistant manager to Billy Davies at Preston North End, Derby County and Nottingham Forest, and has also been number two to Ray Mathias at Tranmere Rovers, Dean Smith at Walsall, Mark Robins at Scunthorpe United and Michael Brown at Port Vale.

Kelly saw off plenty of competition to land the job at the Cobblers, and Curle was not surprised that was the case.

"There was a lot of interest in the position and in my mind it is an excellent job with a lot of responsibility," said the Town manager.

"You need a good knowledge of the individual players and you need a good knowledge of the first team and the level the players need to be at.

"You need a good knowledge of our academy and what is coming through and you need to be that bridge and link from the academy to the first team.

"I like to see young players being first out on the training ground and the last in.

"It is not about a young player signing a professional contract and then just wearing the badges, it is about driving on and pushing on and David will help ensure that culture is very much in place here.