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Mark Kennedy returns to Wolves in coaching role

Former Wolves winger Mark Kennedy has returned to the club in an Academy role as support to the young professionals.

The 43-year-old, who in 2003 was part of the club’s first promotion to the Premier League, comes back to Molineux after a stint coaching at Manchester City, another of his old clubs.

Kennedy began coaching at Ipswich where he finished his playing career in 2012, and progressed to manage their Under-21s team under former Wolves and current Ireland boss Mick McCarthy, prior to rejoining City.

The 34-capped Ireland winger, who made 187 appearances in gold and black from 2001-06 following his £2m move from Manchester City, follows other ex-Wolves players who have returned to coach at the club after hanging up their boots. Midfielder Seyi Olofinjana came back in 2015 to coach the Under-15s, initially on a part-time basis. Now he is loans manager, liaising closely with head coach Nuno Espirito Santo, Under-23s coach Rob Edwards and the backroom staff to place young professionals out on loan and regularly assessing their progress.

Edwards himself is in his second stint coaching in Wolves Academy sandwiching a stint managing AFC Telford United, while goalkeeper Matt Murray launched his coaching career in the Wolves Academy before joining Nike Academy, and full back Kevin Foley helped look after the Under-13s last season.

Other changes in the Academy see former Crewe and Leyton Orient boss Steve Davis now Under-18s head coach after spending a season with the Academy. The ex-Burnley defender and boyhood Wolves fan initially came to the club at the start of the 2018-19 campaign as Academy coach, assisting Darren Ryan with the Under-18s.

Ryan will continue at Wolves, working alongside Head of Academy Scott Sellars in leading elite player development across the Academy, as well as assisting Davis with the Under-18 group on a daily basis.

Sellars said: “Steve’s got huge experience as a manager at Crewe and Leyton Orient and as a development coach working with Academy football. He proved last season how much of a big help he was to us in the development of players, and we think he can continue moving us forward in this role.

Darren’s fantastic with young players and has been very successful in his time at Wolves, playing a key role in the development of several players who have made it into the first-team, such as Morgan Gibbs-White.”

Previously head of coaching for the foundation phase, Jon Hunter-Barrett has been named head of coaching for all age groups from under-16s downwards after taking on the development phase from Marc Campbell, who has left to join the Premier League.

In addition to Kennedy’s return, Wes Hughes has been appointed Under-15s coach after joining from Birmingham City, and Adrian Ganchev is now Under-13s coach having previously worked as Under-12 assistant.

Several changes have been made to the Academy’s goalkeeping department, with Scott Fry being promoted to Under-23s coach, Kristopher Dixon coming into the club from Bury as Under-15 to Under-18s coach, while Christopher Butler will take on the Under-9s to Under-14s.

Other new additions include Pauline Robertson as head of medical, Luke VanZyl as lead physio for the Under-23s and Dan Benham as Academy operations manager. Lisa Hollis has been promoted to head of player care from professional phase administrator, with Matthew Stewart taking on that role.

Sellars added: “We’re very pleased to announce the new additions to the Academy backroom team, as well as deserved promotions for some very talented members of staff.

Our new staff members have years of experience between them and we believe they will only make the Academy stronger going forwards.”