• English League Two club embrace ambitious new structure to place him at the helm
  • Leaves technical area at Scarborough Athletic to take up exciting new challenge
  • Boss Michael Flynn welcomes appointment to help take club to the next level

COUNTY ON ME...Darren Kelly is confident he can help take Newport to the next stage in their

DARREN KELLY has been appointed ambitious English League Two club Newport County's first ever Sporting Director.

The 41-year-old Sport Careers Agency client will work alongside rising coach Michael Flynn and the club's directors with a remit to develop a solid strategy on the recruitment, development and retention of County's players.

Darren left his job as manager of Northern Premier League side Scarborough Athletic last month and he said: "I've had the privilege of working with two supporter-owned clubs that I've been at previously, so I'm looking forward to this new challenge.

”I share the same values as the football club and that's important to me. When I was a player, I was always hard-working, honest and gave everything that I could, and those principles are the same at the football club."

Kelly has been earmarked as the final piece in the jigsaw to help progress Newport into League One after two Play-Off appearances in the last three seasons.

This time around it was a heartbreaking extra-time defeat in the Play-Off Final at Wembley at the hands of Morecambe who were bossed by his fellow Sport Careers Agency client Derek Adams before his departure to Bradford City this week.

County manager Flynn, though, masterminded an excellent season last time out with Newport dumping Championship giants Watford out of the EFL Cup 3-1 in a famous win.

They drew Premiership Newcastle United in the next round and tied 1-1 before a sickening loss in a penalty shootout.

Then in the FA Cup County faced Premiership opposition again in the shape of Brighton and Hove Albion and again punched above their weight in a 1-1 draw before losing yet again on spot-kicks.

That Morecambe goal in the Play-Off Final? Yep, you've guessed it, a controversial penalty.

That story of the fine margins this season shows how close Newport are to taking the great leap forward and Darren said: ”I've had good conversations with the manager and he's someone who I've watched closely over the last couple of years.

"I'm very excited about the future and what we're going to do, so hopefully we can achieve in the process.”

Boss Flynn is keen to embrace what is a new structure at the South Wales club who operate in the English Leagues and boast a proud 109-year history.

Flynn stressed: ”Darren is someone who has plenty of contacts and a lot of experience at different levels of the game, so I'm really looking forward to working with him.

”I've already had some positive conversations with him ahead of the new season and I'm sure he will be a good asset to the football club.”

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