Brighton & Hove Albion academy coach Steve Sidwell says that under-23 striker Aaron Connolly has a big future ahead of him.
The former midfielder was speaking after Connolly had picked up the American Express Elite Performance award for his goalscoring exploits this term, and Sidwell praised the form of the Irish striker for Simon Rusk's team.
He said, “Aaron Connolly is someone with massive potential and we’re very fortunate to have him at the football club - it’s about us continuing to nurture him so that when he does get that opportunity he can take it and kick on.
“We’ve seen how challenging this Premier League is, opportunities might be few and far between so when it does come it’s a chance that he’s going to have to take.
“There’ve been some memorable goalscorers at this football club down the years and Aaron has all the attributes that will allow him to go on and be successful – he’ll be learning off the likes of Glenn [Murray] at the moment and hopefully his chance comes soon.”
Shane Duffy and Lewis Dunk picked up the men’s Player of the Season and Players’ Player of the Season awards respectively on the night, and Sidwell highlighted the pair’s contribution to the team this term.
“The two of them have arguably been the busiest and what they’ve dealt with defensively has been outstanding,” he continued.
“They always put their bodies on the line and they just love defending first and foremost.
“We’ve still got work to do to get ourselves over the line – we could be safe by the time we play on Sunday – but we have to go out and put on a good performance whatever happens.”
Sidwell was speaking after co-hosting the annual event at the Amex Stadium for the first time, and he emphasised how much he enjoyed the occasion.
“It’s something I really enjoyed. It was a challenge, but when the club asked me to do it I was sure it was something I wanted to do.
“I was thrown in at the deep end, but it was a pleasure and hopefully I did the event justice.”