Connolly future set to be resolved

Pompey striker David Connolly Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey striker David Connolly Picture: Joe Pepler

David Connolly’s Pompey future will become clearer next week.

Former Blues boss Richie Barker allowed the striker to join Oxford on loan in January – a move that divided fans’ opinions.

The 36-year-old former Republic of Ireland international has since scored four goals in 16 appearances at the Kassam Stadium – eight of which have been starts.

But he will return to Fratton Park after today’s final round of League Two fixtures.

New boss Andy Awford will start the task of building his squad for next season in the coming days, with Connolly among a large group of players pencilled in to discuss their future.

On his day, the much-travelled front man is a proven goalscorer and adds genuine quality to the side. Yet rumours have also circulated that he can be an outspoken character behind the scenes, which can affect team harmony.

Connolly still has a year left on his current Pompey contract but will also turn 37 in June – and it seems unlikely he will figure in Awford’s plans.

The new boss insists he has plenty of decisions ahead of him, with 16 of his players out of contract at the end of the season.

‘It’s not any more important than the other decisions,’ said Awford.

‘I will speak to the staff, speak to Dave and then make a decision on what we think is best for the club.

‘It’s no big deal. Dave is contracted to the club.

‘I will pick the phone up and speak to him after he has done his job at Oxford.

‘I will speak to Dave and we will see where that goes but we’ve exchanged texts and he sent me the odd text congratulating me.’

Awford admits he has still to decide on whether to offer new contracts to some of his existing playing staff whose deals are to due expire.

But he also realises that he might not be able to reach agreement with those players he wants to keep at the club for next term.

Awford added: ‘I haven’t made up my mind on some.

‘I’ve got to speak to the staff.

‘I might call a player in who is out of contract, I might offer him something, he might want something else and we shake hands and say “see you later” because he is out of our budget.

‘Even the ones you want, you might not get.

‘It’s not cut and dried.

‘I have got people in contract that I might not want. I have got people out of contract that I might want and there is a whole mix.

‘There are loanees who are going back and who are out of contract.

‘Do we want them? Do we not?

‘There are people playing at other clubs who are out of contract and we are aware of. Can we get them?

‘There are loads of things to consider and we can’t rush it.

‘There will be some conversations next week to start that process and that will develop.’