Position: Central Midfielder
Age: 28 *
At Club Since: Summer 2017
Total Club League Appearances (Goals): 30(1) *
As a player who had very recently performed to a high level with Oldham in League One, Liam Kelly’s signing in the summer looked to be something of a coup – even if he was coming off the back of a relegation season with Leyton Orient. At times this season, Kelly has looked like a calm and assured presence in midfield, not doing anything flashy but winning second-balls, making efficient use of the ball and just generally snuffing out danger in the centre of the park. However, his inclusion in the side has at times left us with the handbrake on in games we’ve needed to go out and attack in.
Heading into the season, my impression of Kelly was that he was a superior and more dynamic presence in midfield than Michael Doyle – who I thought would step aside over the course of the season to allow a younger, more creative central midfielder to be partnered alongside Kelly’s sturdiness. Instead, we’ve seen recently that Michael Doyle’s presence in midfield seems to have helped the emergent Tom Bayliss much more than when the latter has been partnered with Kelly. That’s not to say that Kelly has done much wrong this season, but that currently what’s working is either playing Doyle with a more dynamic and forward-thinking midfield partner or Bayliss with a more aggressive, defensive midfielder. Given Doyle’s age and the likelihood of Bayliss leaving in the summer though, Kelly remains an important player for us over in the longer term than the remainder of the season.
*As of 20/04/2018