Evergreen Connolly shows no sign of slowing down

David Connolly has been a big hit since joining Pompey in January

David Connolly has been a big hit since joining Pompey in January

The Pompey players celebrate winning the League Two title on the final day of the 2016-17 season following their 6-1 win against Cheltenham Picture: Joe Pepler

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David Connolly keeps on defying the sands of time and cold footballing logic.

Turning 36 in June, the veteran striker is reaching the natural end to a prolific and much-travelled career in the game.

Except this is no footballer blissfully content with winding down until the inevitable finale.

With six goals in 16 games, Pompey fans have witnessed a remarkable player who appears untouched by the ravages of age.

Exceptional work-rate, high standards and classy finishing have been commonplace since his January arrival.

Having not played for six months before joining Pompey, Connolly has proven to be a revelation who simply must be retained for League Two next year.

Regardless of his Blues future, he has targeted another two years before retiring.

In the meantime, the 35-year-old keeps putting in those high-octane performances which disobey Mother Nature.

He said: ‘My downfall sometimes in my career was actually over-training and doing too much – then I would get injured and miss large parts from injury.

‘My problem is doing too much, not doing too little, and sometimes I need to be reined in just to do less.

‘I take pride in my fitness, keeping on top of myself and my body, in my diet – all those things.

‘Whether it is getting enough sleep, eating the right food, monitoring your body fat, that is why I find it hard to accept players who don’t look after themselves, don’t do their best. But that doesn’t mean everyone has to be like me.

‘But for myself, I have had a 20-year career and am still going.

‘I have one of the least body fats here and it was the same at Southampton. I am one of the fittest here, one of the lightest and that is about personal pride, doing the best you can, getting the best out of yourself. Not abusing yourself.

‘It doesn’t mean you have to be boring. I like having a laugh as much as anyone else but at the end of the day there are people’s livelihoods at stake, such as the manager.

‘If you sack him off five or 10 per cent just because you are in League One or League Two that is wrong.

‘If you were at the top of the game you wouldn’t last five minutes if you were fat, out of shape, lazy, didn’t try in training, didn’t do the extra bits you need to do, all those things.

‘I’ve had problems with my groins, a few injuries to get over but eventually you find a way and my problem is doing too much shooting, too much practising and that has hindered me a little bit. It’s a bit late but I’ve got a balance now – and I still enjoy training as much as anyone else.’

As a club without a training ground, Pompey continue to make the most of the situation.

And Connolly has been helping his team-mates adjust to physical demands.

He added: ‘There is no gym here. I had to go and find a room out of the back with a bike and me and Colin the masseur dragged it in to the home dressing room.

‘If I didn’t bother going to get the bike it would just be sitting there gathering dust.

‘They have cleared it out. Now we have got a little room and the players can do their bits before training and after training and just little things like that.

‘Just because of the situation we are in it doesn’t mean you can’t make the best out of it.’

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