Position: Central Midfielder
Age: 29 *
At Club Since: Summer 2017
Total Club League Appearances (Goals): 55(1) *
Liam Kelly’s emergence from under the shadow of Michael Doyle over the winter has perhaps been under-appreciated. Last season, during a short period when Kelly had to the lead team with Doyle out injured, the team struggled. This time around, while results haven’t dramatically improved with Kelly taking Doyle’s place, the quality of performance has. Kelly’s passing range and mobility have made the team more dynamic and fluent with the ball, however, the main question marks against Kelly’s role as a leader in the side is whether he has the character to drag a team to victories and points when things aren’t going their way, as well as a slew of minor injuries that have prevented Kelly from starting a regular run of games.
That Kelly can be a positive influence on the side as the most defensive midfielder is perhaps surprising given that his best run of form last season came when he was given licence to push forward and get in the faces of the opposition. However, it is the role that he was probably brought in to do given his track record at his two previous clubs – Oldham Athletic and Leyton Orient – where he was the leader of the midfield. If Kelly can overcome his niggling fitness issues, he could well become the leader of this club for several years to come. As there is an emphasis on developing younger players at the moment, having senior players as leaders is invaluable to provide youngsters with the platform and nous to succeed. Especially in the wake of allowing Michael Doyle to lead, Liam Kelly is probably the key player at this football club right now.
*As of 24/03/2019