Sports

Kerr up for City challenge

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Kerr up for City challenge thumbnailJoe Kerr and Alex Clifford have taken over at Holm Park.

ARMAGH City have moved quickly to replace long-serving manager Marty Rice, as former City youth team coach Joe Kerr has taken over the reigns at Holm Park.

Kerr, who enjoyed a great deal of success with the Armagh City 1999s, said he was relishing the challenge of taking on the role and said that he had a very busy first weekend in the position.

“I've had a very busy first weekend in the job and my main focus is to come in and stabilise things, get a squad together and get everything sorted for pre-season.

“Alex Clifford will be joining me as assistant manager. He did a tremendous job last season with Loughgall U20s and he has worked with me before. Alex is up for the challenge and he is very keen to get started."

Kerr takes over the position at Holm Park with the club in a state of flux, with senior players such as John Connolly, Dale Montgomery and Conor Mullan having departed following their relegation to the third tier.

The former Cliftonville player admitted he will be speaking to current senior players and said that he has already started to piece together his squad for next season.

“My first priority is to speak to the existing players at the club and see where they stand. My recruitment process has already started and I have spoken to a few players from the area to see if they are up for the challenge,

“I have also spoken to other clubs to see what way the land lies and I will be getting out there and speaking to players and trying to sell to them what we are doing here.

“When I am speaking to prospective players I know that I can offer them a high level of coaching and a chance to express themselves in the Irish League.

“They will be well looked after and I want to see them develop and push on."

Kerr said that they will be starting pre-season earlier than normal and he will be looking for his players to lay down a marker and show the coaching staff that they are up for the challenge.

“We will be starting pre-season earlier than normal and I will be asking the players to come in and lay down a marker from that very first session.

“I want to see who is serious about playing Irish League football for Armagh City and as pre-season continues I will be getting out there and speaking to players and come the end of August we will know where we stand in terms of the strength of our squad."

Kerr said that the club's U20s and first team will train together from pre-season and he wants to see a more joined up approach throughout the club.

“From next season the U20s and first team will train side by side on the same night. My immediate focus is on the first team, but I want to make sure I know every player at the club and see who is hungry and capable of making the step up to Irish League football.

“We want players who are hungry and want to aspire to be better. We will offer them the best possible coaching and opportunities to do just that."

This week Kerr will sit down with the senior committee and the youth committee and see how they can improve on and off the pitch.

“I will be sitting down with both committees and I will be looking for a more joined up approach.

“I want to see what I can do to help both the youth and senior sections of the club and how we can push on both on and off the pitch."

Kerr, who worked closely alongside Marty Rice when he was a youth coach at the club, concluded by saying that he has nothing for admiration for the job that Rice and Tony Murphy did at the club.

“I have nothing but the utmost of respect for Marty and Tony. I had an excellent rapport with Marty over the years and I am well aware of the difficulties he faced last season.

“He did a fantastic job during his seven years in charge and he deserves so much credit for all he achieved."

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