Pompey boss refuses to ignore Connolly credentials

David Connolly celebrates his goal against Morecambe. Picture: Joe Pepler
David Connolly celebrates his goal against Morecambe. Picture: Joe Pepler
Gary Roberts scores against Plymouth at Fratton Park back in April Picture: Joe Pepler

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Guy Whittingham announced the official appointment of David Connolly as coach and insisted: It would be stupid not to involve him.

Connolly has been lending a hand in coaching sessions at the Blues after signing a two-year deal in the summer.

His involvement has increased in recent weeks during a three-match spell on the sidelines through suspension.

During that time the 36-year-old has been a regular sight on match day – putting members of the squad through their paces. Now the club have recognised Connolly’s input by announcing him in a player-coach role.

Although remaining primarily as a player, his remit also includes assisting coaching with the first team and Alan McLoughlin’s development group.

And for Whittingham, the involvement of the Blues’ top scorer has long been an obvious one.

He said: ‘Dave in the summer expressed a view of getting involved with the coaching.

‘I was staffing the A Licence for the FA a couple of years ago and Dave was taking it.

‘I don’t think he has done a final assessment yet but we know he is a keen coach and he wants to go into coaching and management when he finishes his career.

‘So with a guy like that, with the experience of where he has been, where he has played and of football in general, it would be stupid not to involve him.

‘He wanted to be involved when he recently wasn’t available to play, so had a little bit of a role before the game taking the subs and at half-time taking the subs.

‘He’s also had licence to be involved on a Monday when the first team are having a bit of a warm down.

‘He has worked alongside Macca with organising training on those days and that is something that’s on-going.

‘We want him to be part of it, of course we do, because of his experience.

‘But first and foremost he’s a player – and an important player to us as well.’

Ex-Southampton striker Connolly has scored 11 goals in 23 matches since joining Pompey as a free agent at the turn of the year.