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Pompey's academy boss says the club's new youth coaches will help make Fratton Park a place where young players want to stay long-term.
Andy Awford said the appointment of the likes of KLee Bradbury and Mark Chamberlain would enable Pompey to compete with other clubs in terms of the strength and quality of heir coaching - where they were unable to compete in other areas.
He was speaking after ex-Pompey pair Lee Bradbury and Mark Chamberlain were appointed to coach the under-14 and under-13 sides, with Michael Harris brought in to run the under-12s. Current academy coach Mark Kelly will double up as head of academy recruitment and Adrian Cooke becomes strength and conditioning coach.
Academy manager Andy Awford told the Pompey website: 'I'm delighted to be able to make these appointments. They bring us into line with the staffing levels required under the EPPP, but we have been low on staff numbers ever since the club went into administration, so we need these extra bodies. I'd like to thank all of the existing academy staff for going the extra mile during what has been a difficult time at Portsmouth Football Club.
'Lee has a great football background, who knows the club well from his time here as a players. He's a welcome addition. Mark Chamberlain is another who previously played for Pompey and has previously coached kids here as part of the academy and community departments. He's also coached for Southampton's academy and has a wealth of experience of youth football.
'I've known Michael for about 20 years. He always wanted to be a player but never quite made it and turned his attention to coaching. He's been working as the first team coach at Salisbury, but I spoke to him and liked what he had to offer. He's an innovative young coach. Mark Kelly's already been with us for a few years as a coach and will now also be in charge of academy recruitment. That's the role previously filled by Dave Hurst – who I'd like to thank for all the work he did during my time at the club.
'We have needed a new strength and conditioning coach ever since Paul Stretch left to join Millwall. Paul was made part-time when the club entered administration, so I couldn't blame him for wanting to take up a full-time post elsewhere. But Adrian comes in and is a young, enthusiastic and fully qualified indivudual who's worked previously at Cardiff and Bristol City. The current situation at the club means we can't compete with other sides in certain areas, but we certainly can in terms of what our staff can offer. We're confident we can create an environment where young players will want to stay at Pompey for years to come.'
Meanwhile Pompey head to Crawley on Sunday still looking for their first League One win of the season - and with the hosts' manager unafraid to point out how different the two clubs' fortunes have been in recent years - although warning his own players the Blues will be a force to be reckoned with.
Reds manager Ritchie Barker said: 'Four years ago there were four divisions between us and now we are 15 places above them in the league, which is great. There will be a lot of players playing for their futures in terms of [winning] short-term contracts. There may even be a couple of players who don't know whether they're going to be there next week. With the game being live on TV, one or two of them may see it as a chance to get into the shop window. They've signed some good players recently.'
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