I’m looking forward to my FA Cup bow – Kelly
BRISTOL Rovers defender Michael Kelly is looking forward to competing in the FA Cup for the first time.
The Kilmarnock-born left-back appears set to make his cup debut tomorrow when the Pirates travel to Barnet in the first round of this year’s competition.
Having grown up in Scotland, Kelly has strong memories of the Scottish Cup, but is well aware of the history of the competition.
He said: “Back home it was all about the Scottish Cup and stuff like that. I’ve never been involved in an FA Cup fixture, so I’m looking forward to Sunday.
“It’s an old competition and everyone wants to win it. We go into Sunday and look forward to that and will try to win the game.”
Kelly says that everyone at Rovers is eager to put an end to their recent poor form in the competition.
He said: “You always want to win games and, hopefully, we can go one better this year and get into the next round.”
The Scotsman has established himself as a key member of Rovers’ first team in recent weeks, starting their last five games, and is keen for his form to continue.
He said: “I just want to play games and I’m getting the chance to do that here just now and I’m enjoying every minute. Hopefully it continues and I can play on Sunday again. I’ve been lucky enough to get an opportunity here. Hopefully I can keep doing well in training and hopefully that means I can keep getting selected.”
On the pressures of getting his first prolonged taste of senior professional football this season, Kelly admitted that there were nerves at some points early on in the campaign, but they have quickly subsided, thanks to the welcoming nature of the squad at Rovers.
He said: “There’s always nerves at the start, but the more you play, the more you get used to them nerves. I feel comfortable in front of the boys.
“I feel like one of the first-team members. They don’t treat me like a young boy, they treat me like a firstteam player, so that’s good to be around.”
The full-back celebrated his 21st birthday as the Pirates claimed a 3-0 win over Blackpool last Saturday and was pleased his family were in attendance at Bloomfield Road.
He said: “It was quite a big birthday, but it’s just another year. It was good to get a win and a clean sheet on my birthday and I had my family there to see me.
“The family have come down a few times, but unfortunately when they came I wasn’t selected.
“Saturday was the first time and it was good to have it on my birthday.
“It was good to have them there and it was good to win. We scored a few goals as well, hopefully we can continue that into the weekend.”
It was a win that marked the end of a poor run of form for the Pirates, and Kelly is now keen to build on it.
He said: “If we keep the ball out of our net it gives us every chance to win and there was a dry patch, yes, but we’ve scored a few at the weekend and the goals will come.
“Game by game, the goals will definitely come – hopefully that can be a kick-starter from Saturday into Sunday.”