Position: Central Midfielder
Age: 28 *
At Club Since: Summer 2017
Total Club League Appearances (Goals): 35(1) *
Liam Kelly seemed to embody why we struggled to score during the first half of last season. An experienced presence in midfield who was important in helping us see out wins, his lack of range and ambition in possession made it difficult for us to play through central midfield when we were looking to break stubborn teams down. However, in the final months of the season, Kelly played on the front foot more often to help us win the ball back further up the pitch and hit teams on the transition, which was a real asset for us on a number of occasions. If he can keep doing that at League One level, he’ll start to make himself a bit of a fans’ favourite.
A big question with Liam Kelly is whether his role in the side starts to change when Michael Doyle stops being effective – which is likely to happen some time next season. While he has the attributes to play a disciplined role as a defensive midfield screen, he appears to be a calmer, more serene, but less forceful character than Michael Doyle and that possibly makes him less effective as the team’s de facto leader. During the period of last season when Doyle was injured and Kelly had to be both the defensive midfielder and leader of the side, we struggled, but his track record at his previous clubs – particularly with Oldham at League One level – indicates that he can be an on-field leader.
*As of 22/09/2018