Pompey want Connolly for next season

David Connolly celebrates his first goal. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (13689-26)
David Connolly celebrates his first goal. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (13689-26)
Conor Chaplin and Brett Pitman. Picture: Shaun Boggust

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Guy Whittingham has targeted keeping goal hero David Connolly at Fratton Park next season.

The veteran striker was the match-winner on Saturday with both goals in the 2-0 success over Bury.

It takes his tally to four in the last three matches as he continues to impress the Fratton faithful.

Connolly couldn’t even get a club until Whittingham invited him for a trial at the end of December.

Now he has emerged into a key performer during his month-to-month deal.

And the caretaker boss wants the 35-year-old to remain at Pompey beyond the current campaign.

He said: ‘We have people here we think might be able to do something for us next season.

‘Everybody here is within that.

‘David is one of the options, of course. He has got to decide whether he wants to stay.

‘I don’t know what things are going on off the pitch and whether we can keep him yet.

‘We have to find out what we can do.

‘He is certainly one of those players everybody can see adds that touch of class to our side.

‘David hadn’t played for a while before he came here.

‘He was looking for somewhere to go and I am just pleased we were able to get him here.

‘Unfortunately, people look at your age – especially as a striker because they think it is all about pace and power.

‘To a large extent it is but there is room for those clever players.

‘Look at Kevin Phillips still going and I see no reason why David Connolly can’t go on like that. He’s a big asset to us.’

Connolly’s performance against the Shakers was all the more impressive considering he didn’t train all week.

A bruised calf which forced him off at half-time against Crewe was the problem.

Regardless, he lasted 90 minutes against Bury before Jack Maloney was given his Football League debut as a stoppage-time replacement.

He added: ‘He had not trained all week because of the knock he took last week.

‘The medical team in Steve Allen and Colin Clement have managed that really well and looked after him to get him into the game.

‘I thought he was going to be angry at me bringing him off in case he had a chance of a hat-trick but I wanted him to get the applause because he deserved that.

‘He was our match-winner, although there were a lot of good displays. The defenders kept us a clean sheet.

‘We were contemplating whether to give Jack (Maloney) a debut.

‘I gave him the challenge of just touching the ball when he came on because there wasn’t very long.

‘So David deserved the round of applause he got near the end.

‘They were finishes of somebody who has done that all their playing career.’