Kelly: Creating players not records is key

Academy boss Mark Kelly. Picture: Paul Jacobs (142967-11)
Academy boss Mark Kelly. Picture: Paul Jacobs (142967-11)

Mark Kelly dismissed the Academy’s four-game unbeaten run and promised: It’s all about development.

The under-18s stretched the spell since their last defeat with a 6-1 demolition at Cheltenham on Saturday.

That also made it 14 goals scored in that period, ahead of the home meeting with Newport County this weekend.

Kelly isn’t getting carried away with results and form, however, with it about ensuring a flow of players continues into the first-team set-up for the Academy boss.

He said: ‘I’m not interested in league positions.

‘Four games unbeaten? I don’t keep a tally.

‘We are chopping and changing all the time to help people gain experience.

‘It’s about development not runs or league positions.’

Kelly opted to use under-16 player Ousman Saidy as a hat-trick from Conor Chaplin and goals from Brandon Joseph-Buadi, Lewis Gill and Brandon Haunstrup flattened Cheltenham.

He explained he would have liked to have given more younger players time on the pitch.

But last week’s postponed reserve match against Cambridge meant there were more senior scholars who needed to feature.

With an experienced team he expected his players to take a grip of proceedings – and he wasn’t disappointed.

Kelly said: ‘It was about control and discipline.

‘We had an under-16 in there last weekend, who did well.

‘I would have thrown a few more under-16s in but our reserve game got called off so the older ones needed to play.

‘When we play the older players you would expect them to maintain control.

‘That was the talk before the game and, to be fair, they went out and did that.

‘So that was happy days for us.’

Last weekend’s win also saw a change in formation implemented as the side went with a 4-1-2-3 set-up.

Switching systems has all been about the team’s education.

‘It’s something we’re going through every six or seven weeks,’ Kelly said.

‘We changed it up a bit and worked on it Thursday and Friday last week.

‘The boys stayed on top of it and controlled the game.

‘We’ve been playing with a back three and went to a back four.

‘We did that at the beginning of the season but played with two holders and one pushed on.

‘So we switched it to one holder and two pushed on, to get us a little bit more advanced.

‘That gave us a bit more movement off the front man.

‘But we switched it back to 4-2-1-3 in the second half.

‘That shored things up for us.

‘We don’t want them to be frightened of the systems we’re playing.

‘That is important for them.’