Sport

Opportunity to develop youngsters too good to miss, reveals new Stockport County assistant Stuart Watkiss

By Ross McLean

Stockport County have announced the appointment of Stuart Watkiss to assist newly-installed manager Darije Kalezic, with both contracted until the end of the season.

Wolverhampton-born Watkiss was Hull City’s development coach until being relieved of his duties last summer after previously managing Mansfield Town, Kidderminster Harriers and Grimsby Town in a caretaker capacity.

The 46-year-old former Walsall defender has a history of developing emerging players and is looking forward to working with the Hatters’ young squad.

“I am really excited about working with the club’s youngsters as there are a lot of players here in that 18-21 age group bracket,” he said.

“And I suppose that’s where I have had my greatest success, particularly at Mansfield Town, where we got promoted out of League Two with a lot of players we produced ourselves.

“Liam Lawrence, Lee Williamson, Bobby Hassell and Craig Disley are all good players who have gone on to make a good living out of the game.

“So to be able work with Stockport’s youngsters on a daily basis and help develop them as they are still very much a work in progress is a great opportunity.”

Watkiss took training for the first time yesterday at the Edgeley Park club’s new training base in Woodley alongside Swiss-born Bosnian manager Kalezic.

And after admitting his desire to work alongside the former De Graafschap manager, he echoed ambitious new chief executive Ryan McKnight’s sentiments about the club’s future goals.

“I am really looking forward to working with Darije,” he added.

“I see that as part of my development as a coach, to experience something maybe a little bit different that I haven’t experienced before.

“Everyone knows this is a Football League club, everything about it is going to be geared up towards getting the club to where it belongs so I’m here to help and advise in any way I can.

“It is a club with a proud tradition and I know the fans are still turning out in their numbers, cheering the team on and we just hope we can get the club to where the supporters can be really proud of.”

McKnight spoke of his delight at securing the services of Watkiss to work in unison with Kalezic, pointing to the track record of the ex-Stags defender.

“In Stuart, I believe we have one of the best networked, most highly thought of coaches in the game,” he said.

“He’s got great experience and was absolutely fantastic in his previous roles.”

Picture courtesy of Ceaton89, with thanks

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