Hot on the heels of Manager Jaap Stam and club Vice-Captain Chris Gunter signing new contracts, the club have today confirmed that midfielder Liam Kelly has also put pen to paper on a new deal. The new contract will keep the Irishman at the club until 2020 and is the third deal he's signed in the space of 12 months, something that reflects just how much his stock has risen,
Speaking to the club's website, the club's Director of Football Brian Tevreden was understandably pleased to get the deal done.
"Developing our own players is exactly what we want to achieve at the club and Liam Kelly is a fine example. He came through the ranks here, broke into the first team last season, we gave him a new contract at the end of December and he went on to do very, very well.
"Liam is an outstanding player. He was a key part of the first team squad last season - he gave us everything and we wanted to give him something back. So the manager, myself, everyone within the club is pleased to see him sign this new deal."
There were a few whispers linking Kelly with moves away, with Rangers and Celtic both rumoured destinations, yet it's nice to see the midfielder settle down and I'm sure Stam's decision to stay has played a big part in that decision. It was Stam who took a shine to Kelly last summer, when it appeared as if the youngster was on his way out of the club. Unable to break in under Brian McDermott, Steve Clarke or Nigel Adkins, Kelly had spent time on loan in the Conference South just weeks before the Dutchman arrived.
Yet Stam gave him a chance and was rewarded with some excellent performances, notably a game changing sub appearance away at Bristol City where he helped turn a 2-0 deficit into a 3-2 win. Those kind of performances saw you vote him your Tilehurst End Rookie of the Year for 2016/17.
Kelly's new deal is also a welcome boost after the departure of Danny Williams and fingers crossed the 21-year-old can continue to improve this season.