Brighton & Hove Albion under-23 forward Aaron Connolly is taking the positives from his brief loan spell at Luton Town, after getting a taste of senior football with the Sky Bet League One champions.
Despite signing a loan deal with the Hatters in January, Connolly was unable to join up with his team-mates at Kenilworth Road until April, after completing his recovery from a hamstring injury.
The 19-year-old made just two substitute appearances for Mick Harford’s team, including his league debut against Charlton Athletic at The Valley, and Connolly reflected on his time at the club.
He said, “It was good to go into a team that were pushing for promotion, but obviously because they were doing so well, it was hard for me to get into the team.
“It would have been good to go there in January, but obviously injuries happen, so I went there late and wasn’t able to play as much as I would have hoped for.
“I can’t be too upset about it — they were 28 games unbeaten when I arrived, so I couldn’t really expect to go straight into a team doing that well.
“I can take experience from training with men everyday. I also made my league debut, so hopefully I can just kick on from there next season.”
The Irishman ended the Premier 2 Division 1 season as top goalscorer, and despite not playing as many minutes as he wanted to at Luton, Connolly is now focused on using the experience and making the most of further opportunities.
“It’s definitely taught me lessons and that’s what I’m looking for at 19. It was a loan spell that didn’t quite work for me, but I can make it work in different ways.
“I just want to get more experience, if not in the first team here then I’d definitely like to be in a first team somewhere else on loan next season.
“Hopefully I could then come back here the season after next and stake a claim for a place in the first team.
“The club has shown a lot of faith in me at 19 years of age, giving me a three-and-a-half year contact — hopefully I can repay that faith over the next three years or so.”