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First team

No split loyalties for Bristol boy Kelly


AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

Lloyd Kelly will put friendships on the backburner as he looks to help the Cherries get one over his boyhood club.

Defender Kelly progressed through the ranks at Bristol City and is a lifelong fan having been born and raised in the city.

Kelly joined the Robins when he was 12 after being spotted by club scouts playing for local youth team Bristol Central. 

The 22-year-old still has many close friends at the club, including recently-appointed head coach Dean Holden and players Zak Vyner and Tyreeq Bakinson.

Kelly played under Holden during his time as assistant to Lee Johnson, while defender Vyner and midfielder Bakinson could both feature against the Cherries on Wednesday.

Holden, who took charge of City’s final five games of last season following Johnson’s dismissal, has made an impressive start to his tenure since being given the post permanently in August.

City won six of their first seven games in all competitions and are currently second in the Championship table, one point and two places above the Cherries.

Kelly moved to Vitality Stadium ahead of the start of last season having made 48 appearances for the Robins and says he has been looking forward to the clash.

He told afcb.co.uk: “As soon as the fixtures came out, I looked for the home and away games against City.

“I picked up an injury in the Carabao Cup against Manchester City but made sure I was back for the Watford game and especially for Wednesday.

“Bristol holds a special place in my heart and for my growth as a footballer so I wanted to make sure I was available for the game.

“Both teams have had a good start to the season. They have had a fair bit of change within their team and, like us, with the manager.

“I want them to do well but my loyalties lie at Bournemouth now and all my focus is here. The first thought in my mind is can we do well and push for promotion?”

Discussing his friendship with Holden (pictured above), Kelly added: “We got on really well when Lee Johnson was the gaffer.

“You could talk to Deano about anything – football, family, lifestyle, anything. He’s always got time for people and wants to develop young players. I’ve got nothing but the utmost respect for him.

“We used to sit down after training for a chat. You don’t have to talk about football every day so it was good to get away from that side of it and have a normal conversation with him.

“I’m looking forward to coming up against my close friends Zak Vyner and Tyreeq Bakinson. They have pushed into the team this season and it will be a funny moment when I see them!”

Kelly said most of his family follow his career and the team he currently plays for but added that “a couple of family members will be slightly rooting for City!”

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