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Academy

NEWS: New Professional Development Phase coaching team confirmed

2 August 2022

Coventry City are delighted to confirm the appointment of John Dempster as the Club’s new Senior Professional Development Phase Coach.

In his new role, John will be responsible for the Under 21 development programme and overseeing the Professional Development Phase.

John joined the Club in February 2020 as Lead Professional Development Phase Coach and in his time in that position played a key role in the development of a numbers of players, also guiding the Sky Blues youngsters to the Professional Development League Cup Final.

Dempster began working with the Under 23s in April, leading them to the Professional Development League title victory over Bristol City in May.

John moved into coaching with roles at Mansfield as Academy Manager and first-team manager, following a playing career which included spells at The Stags, Rushden & Diamonds, Oxford United and Kettering Town plus others, as well as representing Scotland at Under 21 level.

Following his appointment, John said:

“It is a real privilege to be offered the job as Senior Professional Development Phase Coach, and to continue the work of the Under 23s previously and the Academy.

“I have worked closely with many of the players who have moved from the Under 18s to the Under 21s and have already got a good relationship with them.

“The new players who have joined this Summer have already bonded well into the existing group.

“The existing players and the new additions have impressed both in training and in the pre-season games programme, and we’re looking forward to the season ahead.”

John will be assisted by Chris Allen, who has been appointed as Assistant Senior Professional Development Phase Coach.

Chris joined the Sky Blues early in January 2022, working across the Professional Development Phase as a support Coach.

Chris has previously been youth team coach and first-team coach at Oxford United.

He played more than 180 games for Oxford United before appearing over 30 times for Nottingham Forest in the Premier League in the mid-90s, then appearing for sides including Luton Town and Stockport County.

Chris said:

“I'm thoroughly enjoying my time here. The staff are great and that is the single reason for me coming here to work at Coventry City. Right now, it truly is a great place to work.

“We have bright, talented and hungry players at the Academy and I must add, very good and humble lads. My job is to ensure that they realise it and assist them in fulfilling their true potential.” 

The Under 23s side will become an Under 21s side, in line with changes taking place across the Professional Development League set-up. The Under 21s will be housed at the Academy’s Alan Higgs Centre base, with the aim of creating a clearer pathway for young players to progress from the Sky Blues youth set up to the Under 21s, and then beyond.

Academy Manager Dan Bolas said:

“The changes made by the Premier League and EFL to adapt the age bracket from Under 23 to Under 21 is something which will continue to help with Coventry City Academy’s young players transition into adult football.

“The football club has always treated the Under 23 group with importance as a tool for developing individuals, and with the alignment of the programme at the Alan Higgs Centre, coupled with the senior professional experience provided by both John and Chris, it’s an exciting opportunity for players across the professional development phase.”

Dan added:

“Throughout pre season, a number of the boys from the Under 21 squad have had first-hand experience of training with the first team coaching staff or making match day squads for some of the friendly fixtures. In addition, the U21 Pre Season programme has seen the group have a variety of fixtures from Leicester and Everton’s Under 21 age groups to Stratford Town and Nuneaton Boroughs open age set ups.

“As the season progresses, there will be further opportunity for the players individually to have experiences, be they training, friendly fixtures or loans, alongside competing in the Category 2 Professional Development League. 

“As an Academy, the challenge for all staff and players is to reach a level where players from this group are pushing for a place in the Gaffer’s first team squad. The standards required to do this are high, however everyone involved should embrace this and relish the opportunity to develop and get as close as possible to that level.”


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