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28 July 2013



28 July 2013

We keep you informed about former players

Former Gillingham midfielder Mark O’Connor has been appointed manager of Bristol City’s under-21 development side.

The 50-year-old had been part of Tony Pulis’ management team at Stoke who departed the Britannia earlier this summer. He has also had spells coaching here at Priestfield, Portsmouth – where he was academy manager – and Plymouth Argyle. He replaces Willie McStay who’d left Ashton Gate at the end of the season.

Speaking about his appointment Mark said "I'm looking forward to the challenge. The main thing for me was to be back in work, and it's a great opportunity, one I plan to grab with both hands.

"I played with Sean at Bournemouth for many years and I had great respect for him as a player. We've kept in touch ever since and I was delighted when he asked if I'd be interested in working with him.

"I worked with the youth teams at Portsmouth for six or seven years, and I've always liked working with young players.

"Sean spoke a lot about investing in youth and wanting close links between the youngsters and the first team, which was obviously very pleasing to hear."

As we reported last week striker Deon Burton was on trial at League Two Scunthorpe United and having presumably impressed, he has now signed a one-year deal at Glanford Park.

Another former striker has also been in the news this week. Ade Akinbiyi, now 38, has come out of retirement to join Conference North Colwyn Bay, managed by ex-Chelsea defender Frank Sinclair. 

Although he will primarily be there to coach the Welsh team’s forward line, Ade has also agreed to play when required.

Moses Ashikodi, a one-time loanee here at Priestfield, featured as a trialist in a pre-season friendly defeat for Luton Town at neighbours Dunstable Town in midweek.

New Dover Athletic signing Craig Stone, a Gillingham midfielder earlier in his career, is likely to be named captain for the forthcoming campaign. Boss Chris Kinnear has this week said “I think we will go with Craig as captain for the season. Apart from being a good player, he is a good character as well.

“He’s a good lad, a good signing for us and is a good captain, but again, with captains, you want everyone to be able to lead out there.”

Two former Gillingham forwards, Dean McDonald and Tom Murphy, are both on trial at the Crabble and both scored in the Whites 3-1 midweek friendly victory at Whitstable Town.

27-year-old McDonald, who made 30 appearances for the Gills in 2006-07, ended last season with Macclesfield Town while Murphy, a former trainee who only made one first-team appearance – as a 74th minute substitute against Colchester United in October 2008 in a Football League Trophy tie, was at Margate.

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