Lightbourne overlooked for Walsall number two job

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  • Kyle Lightbourne (left) has missed out on becoming Dean Smith's (right) new assistant coach at Walsall FC. Above, Lightbourne helps out during a training session in 2011 at the Banks's Stadium with then first team coach Chris Nichol (centre).

    Kyle Lightbourne (left) has missed out on becoming Dean Smith's (right) new assistant coach at Walsall FC. Above, Lightbourne helps out during a training session in 2011 at the Banks's Stadium with then first team coach Chris Nichol (centre).


Kyle Lightbourne has missed out on the first team coach’s position at his former club Walsall who have appointed another ex-player, Richard O’Kelly, instead.

Lightbourne, who scored 65 goals in 165 appearances for the Saddlers, had expressed an interest in returning to the club to join the coaching staff, where he worked briefly this season.

But the League One side have plumped for O’Kelly who will begin his third stint on manager Dean Smith’s back room staff, less than four months after leaving the Banks’s Stadium for a similar role at Bristol City.

Smith had worked without an assistant since February, following the exit of O’Kelly’s replacement David Kelly after just two weeks in the post himself — and revealed there were several in contention to be his new number two.

Last week Robin Hood coach Lightbourne told The Royal Gazette he would be open to a return to the club in a coaching capacity, having enjoyed helping out his ex-teammate Smith.

“It really went well, but it’s disappointing the team didn’t make it to the play-offs. My position was a coach and I used to take the sessions at times and coached the reserves as well,” said Lightbourne, who also had a short spell at Walsall in 2011 to help coach the club’s strikers.

“I was more sitting in the stands and looking at it from a different angle for the manager and used to train the forwards as well.

“It was quite intense, in early and finishing quite late, especially if there were reserve games in the evening.

“We had about eight reserve games during that time, about two a week to catch up. They definitely needed extra hands at that time.

“Speaking with the manager he definitely enjoyed me being there.”

Smith told the Express & Star newspaper that he believed ex-Hereford United manager O’Kelly was the right man for the job.

“I’m really pleased that Richard has returned to the club,” he said.

“We built up a good working relationship and I am delighted that he is part of my back room staff again.

“His experience, knowledge, work ethic and sheer enthusiasm is what this club needs to help us to continue making progress. It wasn’t an easy decision because I had a few irons in the fire.

“But Richard was an integral part in putting the foundations in place for what was a successful season last time around and Bristol City’s loss is certainly our gain.”

Walsall finished ninth in League One last season.

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Published May 15, 2013 at 8:00 am (Updated May 14, 2013 at 6:11 pm)

Lightbourne overlooked for Walsall number two job

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