Kris O'Leary out to build on Grey foundations in U23s bow

7th March 2021
Kris O'Leary Vetch

New Swansea City Under-23s coach Kris O'Leary hopes to build on the good work of predecessor Jon Grey as he takes charge for the first time against Ipswich Town on Monday.

The former Swans midfielder is back with his boyhood club after returning as lead coach of the development side at the end of last month.

Working alongside Anthony Wright, he takes over the reins from Grey, who will now fully focus on his role as head of academy coaching, with the under-23s fresh from consecutive victories over Charlton and Millwall

After progressing through the youth ranks, O'Leary went on to make over 250 league appearances for the Swans between 1995 and 2010.

The former midfielder returned to the club in a coaching capacity two years later; overseeing the fortunes of the newly-formed under-21s’ squad, before serving on the first-team backroom staff under Garry Monk.

Ironically, his first-ever league match in charge of the under-21s was also against Ipswich, with a side featuring the likes of Jazz Richards, Josh Sheehan, Rory Donnelly and Gwion Edwards earning a 2-1 win at Stebonheath Park in August 2012.

O'Leary, who was most recently in charge of Cymru Premier side Carmarthen Town, will be hoping for a similar outcome just over eight-and-a-half years later.

And the 43-year-old is excited to get down to work on his return to the academy set-up with his hometown club.

"I've only been in a couple of days, but I'll be looking to continue the good work that Jon has done," he said.

"We also want to build on the last two results.

"I don't need to tell people what Swansea City means to me; it's where my heart is and I'm delighted to be back.

"It's as long as I've ever been away from Swansea in my working life, so it's fantastic to be back at the club at a real positive time.

"The average age of the squad is quite low, which is something I believed in during my time previously working in the academy set-up.

"And with the head coach we have, there's a clear pathway to the first team."