Brighton & Hove Albion under-23s striker Aaron Connolly is determined to make the most of his involvement in the club’s current first team pre-season tour in Austria.
The Irishman has travelled with Graham Potter’s squad along with Max Sanders, Steven Alzate, Viktor Gyokeres and Robert Sanchez for the camp, and he spoke of his enjoyment at being around the senior environment so far.
He said, “It’s been good to meet the new head coach and his staff and I’m glad to be around it every day, it’s what I wanted and something I said in a few interviews at the end of last season.
“I want to be in this environment and push on now, it’s a chance I want to take.
“My aim is to play for the first team and impress the head coach here, hopefully I get my chance in some league or cup games. If that doesn’t work out, then I’d consider going out on loan again.”
The young striker has made his way through the ranks with the Seagulls after impressing in the under-23s side over the last few seasons, and he paid tribute to the grounding he’s had at the football club to date.
“The staff in the group have been brilliant for me – I’ve played with them since I was 16 because they were in charge back then as well,” he continued.
“Simon [Rusk], Shannon [Ruth] and Liam [Rosenior] have been great and made me a better player over the last few years and I can’t thank them enough.
"Hopefully all they’ve done for me will be reflected in me working hard with the first team out here in Austria."
Connolly notched 11 times in 15 Premier League 2 Division 1 matches last term before joining Sky Bet League One title-winning Luton Town on loan, form which won him the Player of the Season award at the end of the campaign.
“That was nice and something I didn’t expect given that I’d only played at that level for half of the season, so when I found out I was really happy.
“As much football is about the team, whenever you pick up a personal award it feels really good and it was a proud moment for me and my family.”