Chennai, July 9 (IANS) Chennaiyin FC on Monday announced the appointment of Englishman Paul Groves as assistant coach ahead of its title defence in the upcoming Indian Super League (ISL) 2018-19 season.
The 52-year-old Groves, who was last working as first-team coach at Birmingham City last season, replaces compatriot Mark Lillis.
Groves is reunited with Chennaiyin FC Head Coach John Gregory and Sports Scientist Dr. Niall Clark, having worked with the two at Crawley Town in England’s League One in the 2014-15 season as first-team coach.
Groves joins the duo who signed a one-year extension earlier this year after having guided the club to its second ISL title in March. Local favourite and former India international Syed Sabir Pasha also continues as Assistant Coach.
“I am looking forward to working with John and Niall again and excited about working in India for the first time,” Paul stated.
“Chennaiyin FC has a great mix of foreign and Indian players and the squad is shaping up well for the coming season. I am looking forward to helping the club defend the ISL title and progress as far as possible in the debut AFC Cup campaign,” he added.
Head Coach John Gregory said: “Paul had an excellent playing career and has gone on to be a top class coach. He is a respected figure in the English game and I am sure we will benefit greatly from his technical and tactical knowledge.”
Groves’ lengthy playing career spanning more than 700 professional appearances began at Burton Albion in 1988. He went on to play for Leicester City, Blackpool, West Bromwich Albion, Grimsby Town, Scunthorpe United, York City and Stafford Rangers.
He made 454 appearances for Grimsby Town over two stints, becoming player-manager in the latter, from 2001 to 2004.
Following his retirement as a player in 2006, Groves joined the coaching staff at Portsmouth where he worked as first-team coach under former Chelsea manager and current NorthEast United Head Coach Avram Grant.
He then enjoyed coaching stints at West Ham United, Bournemouth, Crawley Town and Bristol City before joining Birmingham City in April last year under Harry Redknapp.