Brighton & Hove Albion under-23 striker Aaron Connolly is hopeful that his good form so far this season will be rewarded with a chance in Chris Hughton’s first team in the near future.
The Irish striker took his tally to nine goals in 12 matches with a first-half strike in the side’s 2-0 win over SL Benfica B in the Premier League international Cup on Monday evening, and he spoke buoyantly about his campaign so far.
He said, “The first team are doing well at the moment so if I don’t get near it this year I’ll understand, but at the moment I just want to keep working hard and hopefully I can challenge – if I got a chance this year then I’d like to think I can take it.”
“Being around the first team in pre-season was great and I know the manager was here this evening [Monday], I’d like to think I’m close to his plans.
“The manager is where he is because he’s made plenty of those decisions over the years – but I can’t do much more and I’d like to think I can get my chance at some point.”
Connolly doubled Albion's advantage after Viktor Gyokeres had converted from the penalty spot in Albion’s second group game of the competition, and he reflected on a potential opening for the first team this season.
“Maybe a cup competition might provide me with an opening, but if I keep scoring I’ll be noticed around the place and I’d like to think I can get myself in there.
“All I want to do is score goals and at the moment that’s what I’m doing so I’m glad about that.
“If it helps us get wins over sides like Benfica then that’s even better, because that’s what I’m in the team to do.”
The in-form forward also notched 12 goals last season as the side won promotion to Premier League 2 Division 1 and has already been nominated for the Player of the Month award in both August and September this term.
The Seagulls’ leading marksman reflected on the key factors that he believes have contributed to the fruitful spell in front of goal.
“Last season I tore my quad at around this time of the season and was out from our second game to around the ninth one.
“I had a stop-start campaign and even when I came back after that, I could still feel it and I wasn’t fully fit.
“Eventually I got back into the swings of things from the New Year and it’s flew from there and continued into this season.
“I think the key to my form has been keeping myself injury free, and I had a good off-season too. So far I haven’t picked up any knocks, so hopefully it stays like that and then I can keep scoring and impressing around the football club.”