The all-energy Northern Irish midfielder played 19 times for our Under-18s and impressed in limited chances for the reserves, starting eight of 17 appearances.
The 19-year-old’s sheer enthusiasm won praise from his coaches last term. Clive Allen said: “Kieran wants to play every day in training and every game that’s available to him. I know the senior staff have seen a lot of potential and that’s one of the reasons he was involved in the senior squad towards the end of the season. He’s one for the future.”
“I was pretty happy with my season,” reflected Kieran, who is expected to captain Northern Ireland when they host the European Under-19 Championship in July.
“Last pre-season went well and I had a few run outs with the first team in Sweden, all good experience for me.
“It’s been highs and lows. I’ve had a few niggling injuries but I feel when I’ve played for the reserves I’ve done myself justice.
“I’ve played a lot of games for the youth team as well and 10 internationals, so I’ve played plenty of games and I feel fit.
“It’s a big step from youth team to reserves and with the senior players at the club, there will always be times when you are in and out of the side but I feel I’ve done well and that’s the important thing.
“I’ve also had good feedback from the coaches, so that’s important for confidence as well.
“Next season I want to cement my place in the reserves and try to push into the first team squad as well — you have to aim high. I’ll be looking to push on.”
Kieran McKenna is setting his sights high for next season after a positive 2004-05 campaign.