'First choice' number two O'Kelly signs up

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By Walsall Advertiser | Thursday, June 21, 2012, 09:20

WALSALL'S summer recruitment is still yet to bear much fruit on the pitch – but they made a key appointment on the managerial side this week as Richard O'Kelly rejoined the club as assistant boss.

The 55 year-old has returned to Banks's Stadium following a successful spell on the coaching staff last season and manager Dean Smith was delighted with his permanent number two.

Smith said: "There were a number of applicants for the role but Richard was the man I wanted.

"I'm delighted to have secured my first-choice and I'm delighted that Richard sees Walsall as his first-choice.

"He had offers from Hereford United and Crawley Town but turned them down to join us, which is pleasing.

"He's a real football man with passion and enthusiasm. He is an excellent coach and he'll be a valuable asset here."

O'Kelly enjoyed two spells as a player with the Saddlers in the early and late 1980s, making more than 200 appearances for the club.

A distinguished coaching career featured stints with Grimsby and West Bromwich Albion but his most notable work was as assistant to Sean O'Driscoll at first Bournemouth and then Doncaster.

After the duo left Rovers last season, he returned to the Banks's to help out Smith but left again in March to take charge of Hereford, however he was unable to prevent relegation into the Conference.

"It feels good to be back," added O'Kelly. "I'll be looking to build on what we did last year; the manager, Jon Whitney and the other staff have a great understanding of what is required.

"They are consistent in how they behave and that in turn helps the players.

"There are a lot of good people involved at this club who are striving to do the best they possibly can and I'm delighted to be part of it again."

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