Striker chipping in

David Connolly, right, on the training pitch with Romain Padovani Picture: Robin Jones
David Connolly, right, on the training pitch with Romain Padovani Picture: Robin Jones
Samantha Quayle. Picture: Jordan Hampton

Flying start for Pompey with Cardiff swept aside

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David Connolly has stepped up his coaching duties at Pompey.

And Ryan Bird has insisted he is determined to benefit from the Blues’ top scorer’s vast experience.

Connolly last week took a training session at the club’s Langstone training base.

And the 36-year-old put Pompey’s players through their paces before and at half-time of their past two outings at Torquay and Cheltenham.

That has offered the chance for Bird to tap into Connolly’s vast experience as he learns his striking trade.

Bird is hungry to utilise all of his team-mate’s nous from a long career at the top level of football.

He said: ‘Dave Connolly took training.

‘It was a really good session.

‘I think he is looking to get his coaching badges.

‘For me to learn from a centre-forward like Dave in that way can only be a really good thing.

‘I was buzzing from being able to learn from him.

‘He is obviously really experienced and been at a lot of different places.

‘He is giving me advice on all the different parts of being a striker.

‘I’m learning from the best.’

Bird was given his first Pompey start last week in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy success at Torquay.

The 25-year-old then followed that up with 13 minutes off the bench at Cheltenham on Saturday.

That continues his education after stepping up to league level from Southern League central division champions Burnham in the summer.

Bird admitted he is still in dreamland at making it into the professional game.

But that buoyancy has to be tempered by a desire to improve himself and make a successful transition to life in League Two.

‘Every day I’m enjoying training,’ said Bird.

‘It’s brilliant waking up to a job you want to do every morning.

‘I’m waking up excited and can’t wait to get to training.

‘I’m still pinching myself, but I realise that this is my career now and I have to take it in that way.

‘So I know I have to knuckle down and work hard.

‘I’m living the dream but I have to come down to earth and knuckle down.’

Bird admitted he still has a lot to learn about the art of operating as a striker.

Incredibly, the hitman was never given specialist striking training in his time at Burnham.

That didn’t stop him scoring an incredible 45 goals last season, however, after being converted from a central defender.

Bird said: ‘I have to work on improving physically and work on the things I’m not so good at in training.

‘The worst thing about my game at the moment is my hold-up play. I’m not used to it, so I have to practise a lot in training and improve all the time.’