Brighton & Hove Albion under-23 striker Aaron Connolly has thanked the club for the faith they’ve shown in him after signing a new three-and-a-half-year deal.
The forward put pen to paper on a new long-term deal with the Seagulls, and he spoke about the trust the club has put in his abilities.
“It’s now about getting fit again and pushing on towards the first team over the next few seasons.
“The length of the deal shows the trust that the club has in me and that means a lot, it shows they have faith in me at the age of 19 – I want to stay here for as long as I can and make the first team, playing in front of the fans every week.”
Connolly has found the net 17 times so far this term in all competitions, form which has seen him nominated for the Premier League 2 Division 1 ‘Player of the Month’ award on four occasions, winning the accolade in November.
“It’s been a good start to this season and I’d say the opening six months is the best spell I’ve enjoyed since I’ve been at the football club,” he added.
“It carried on from last year since we got promoted, and in all honesty, I probably didn’t expect to be in this position now when I came back from the summer.
“But the team have been great and that’s helped me – I’ve no doubt they’ll continue to push on whilst I’m out injured.
“It makes me more determined to come back and hit the ground running, and it’s making me work harder away from the field too.
“I don’t want that feeling of getting a slight knock or setback again – being out for a long period is hard, but I want to be fully fit for the rest of the season and that’s my aim when I get back out on the pitch.”
The striker was included in Chris Hughton’s travelling squad for the Premier League contest away to Cardiff City at the start of November, becoming one of a number of under-23 faces that the manager has included in his first team group so far this term.
“I’ve had the taste of being around the first team squad this year, whilst still featuring for the under-23s, and it’s something I want more of.
“Travelling with a Premier League squad is great and hopefully we can all keep pushing on. Viktor [Gyokeres] got his chance in the cup last week and it’s a reward for all the hard work we’ve put in.
“I haven’t made the bench like a few of the other lads, but I’ve seen what that environment is like – I want to be playing in front of supporters every week."