Connolly in no mood to pick perfect Pompey partner

David Connolly
David Connolly

David Connolly and Patrick Agyemang are back in tandem, their long-term Pompey futures secured.

Throw in newcomer Tom Craddock and youngster Ashley Harris and the striking pool is a deep one for Guy Whittingham to dip in to.

Connolly, though, refuses to reveal a preference for the make-up of the Blues’ forward line in League Two next season.

Diplomacy is not something usually within the 36-year-old’s often-outspoken outlook. Yet when it comes to discussing partners in crime, he remains guarded.

Logic dictates it will be the former Watford hitman and Agyemang leading the line come kick-off on August 3, considering the duo’s heroics last season.

In reuniting a relationship which initially began at Wimbledon a decade earlier, the pair – who both signed permanent deals last month – proved to be deadly for Whittingham’s team.

This time around, Craddock and Harris will be pushing them hard in the Blues’ new-look squad.

Not that Connolly is willing to predict who would operate the most effectively.

He said: ‘At clubs, I don’t like it when players speak about themselves or their current partner.

‘We have got other strikers here other than Patrick and myself and whoever is picked I am sure will do their very best.

‘Whether it is Tom, Ashley or even if Patrick is not in form and out of the side, I will look to play with whoever is selected in the coming season.

‘Of course, it’s a bonus Patrick is here again. We worked really well before and it’s superb for the club that he has signed.

‘We had a good rapport and have built that up over a long time.

‘But any of us can form a partnership with other strikers as well and that is how successful teams are built.

‘Patrick could well work with somebody else. He’s intelligent.

‘When I am with him I talk to him, try to help him. He is a confidence player. I think I can do that with Patrick, I know how to talk to him and try to get the best out of him.

‘I want him to do well, he is a nice lad, so is Ashley and now Tom is here, so it is a case of whoever it may be up front.

‘With Ashley, he had an opportunity against Shrewsbury and you need these otherwise you will never be able to see what players are capable of.

‘Ash has come into the frame wanting a spot and that is good for competition.

‘There is a rivalry there, but not a detrimental one, and all strikers have to feel like there is a chance of being involved.’

With seven goals in 17 appearances, retaining the services of Connolly was going to be key for Whittingham.

Agyemang netted three in 15 games himself, yet it was as a partnership the veteran pair truly flourished.

However, Connolly is adamant service to the front men remains crucial.

He added: ‘What we really all need is good service, good balls into the box.

‘I watched Reading against QPR in the Premier League live and they had about 15 efforts on goal – one was on target.

‘Against Sheffield United last season we had four or five chances and scored three goals. That’s high-quality finishing – it doesn’t matter what league you are in.

‘With a settled team and good players, obviously you are going to create chance.

‘I know how the players play a little bit and they know how I play.’