Connolly revelling in new Pompey role as he looks to the future

Guy Whittingham, David Connolly and Alan McLoughlin. Picture: Joe Pepler
Guy Whittingham, David Connolly and Alan McLoughlin. Picture: Joe Pepler

David Connolly’s set-play dossier is ever-expanding.

For more than 10 years he has compiled variations glimpsed across the world either in person or from studying the television, the written findings packed into folder upon folder.

A fascinating insight into the mind-set of a player who sees his future remaining on the training pitch, albeit in a managerial capacity.

Since being forced on the sidelines at the end of September through injury, Connolly has carried out his wish of a greater involvement in coaching aspects at Pompey.

A long-standing desire welcomed by Guy Whittingham and first-team coach Alan McLoughlin, it has enabled the veteran striker to implement his footballing concepts.

In recent times Connolly has worked with the Academies at Sunderland and Spurs. He also spent a month coaching at Stevenage early last season.

Now he is officially recognised as a Pompey player/coach with the remit of working with the first-team and assisting with the development group.

And the Blues’ joint-top scorer is revelling in his fresh commitments.

He said: ‘I have done all the courses going. I’ve got my Uefa A licence in my back pocket, I did a management certificate at Warwick with people like Mike Phelan.

‘I then went on a leadership course, which is by invitation for those under the age of 40 – someone from the FA saw something in me.

‘Any time I can I will go and improve myself and those management courses have taught me a lot, but you still have to be very realistic.

‘You can aim for the moon and stars but life isn’t like that, football is a very unforgiving place, very unforgiving.

‘But I’m confident if I get the opportunity I have equipped myself as best I can.

‘I was due to go to Holland on Sunday to watch my old club Feyenoord for a day, but it was called off because of the wind.

‘I’m using all the contacts I can and am friends with Martin Keown from when I was at Leicester.

‘The other day I got him to watch us at Oxford to see if I am missing something such as what he thinks of the lads at the back.

‘I have got folders and folders of training sessions upon training sessions, set-plays going back over 10 years. I have set plays from all over the world, ones I have seen from highlight packages on the tele or whatever it may be.

‘I don’t like having too much time off, I am a fan of working, I go and watch games when I can, look at different formations.

‘Mark Catlin wanted to see me one night and I said “I can’t, I’m going to watch Watford. They play 3-5-2 and I want to watch them”. That’s how it is.’

Connolly remains primarily a player and was today hoping to return to training ahead of the visit of Exeter this weekend.

In the meantime, he’s delighted with how his coaching input has been received.

He added: ‘Along with the rest of the staff I will offer anything I feel will help – not cloud the issue but help.

‘The manager and Macca have been great, they have welcomed me with open arms. It is Macca who deserves the credit for Bondz scoring those three goals recently, those set players were down to him.

‘The manager will listen to suggestions, he won’t always go with them but that’s fine, I just make the suggestions.

‘If I can’t help on the pitch, I am up at the crack of dawn working and thinking how I can help off it.’