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Ex-Portadown ace Darren Kelly takes over as boss of Oldham

By Stuart McKinley

Published 05/05/2015

Former Derry City and Portadown defender Darren Kelly is the shock appointment as the new manager of Oldham Athletic.

Kelly emerged as a surprise contender for the job last week as Oldham went about employing a long-term successor to Lee Johnson, who left in February to take over at Barnsley.

And Kelly's lack of experience hasn't been a factor, with the Latics handing the 35-year-old his opportunity in League One just six months after he took up a role within Sunderland's Academy set-up.

Prior to that Kelly had been working as a community coach at his former club York City and he was still playing for Scarborough Athletic in the Northern Counties East Football League Premier Division until he took the job at the Black Cats.

"I am delighted that the board of Oldham Athletic Football Club have seen fit to appoint me as the club's new manager," said ex-Northern Ireland under-21 international Kelly.

"It is a role that I accept with immense pride and one which I am fully focused on and committed to.

"I am looking forward to building on the achievements of Oldham Athletic and driving the club to new levels of success."

Kelly's appointment maintains a recent trend with Oldham appointing young managers.

The club gave Paul Dickov his first job five years ago at the age of 37 and Johnson was just 31 when he was appointed two years ago.

Even Joe Royle was only 33 when his memorable 12-year stint at the club began in 1982.

Kelly will keep caretaker boss Dean Holden, who could have played for Northern Ireland through his grandparents, as his number two.

He is set to officially take over the reins at Boundary Park on June 1.

Belfast Telegraph

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