Connolly: Town Move Thoroughly Recommended
Thursday, 14th Sep 2017 15:42
Town new boy Callum Connolly was spoilt for choice when it came to seeking advice about his recent move to Portman Road.
The 19-year-old, who made his debut in the 2-1 defeat at QPR last week, is on a season-long loan from Everton, where there is a strong contingent of people with connections to Ipswich.
Former Town boss Joe Royle, an Everton legend, is back at Goodison as part of the backroom team, his main role being the development of the club’s young players and not only arranging loan deals but keeping an eye on their progress thereafter.
The club’s U23 coach is David Unsworth, who had a loan spell at Town under Royle’s management, and Conor Grant, who was on loan at Portman Road last season, remains on the playing staff and is currently on a temporary stint at Crewe Alexandra.
Connolly said: “Joe looks out for the young players who are out on loan. He sorted out my previous loan moves to Barnsley and Wigan, as well as here, and he has passed on a lot of good advice about Ipswich.
“He’s someone who is there for us if we want to have a chat. He has texted me already and I’ll be speaking to him in the next few weeks.
“I’m quite close to David with him being my coach for the last few years. He has been good for me and given me a lot of confidence and praise. He had nothing but good things to say about Ipswich and how the move would be good for me as well.
“I also rang Conor and he said he was made up for me. He said that even if it’s a long drive from Liverpool it will be a good move and that I would enjoy it.
“He said they had a great set of lads with an excellent manager and coaching staff, which is how I’ve found it since arriving at the club. I see coming here as a real positive.”
Connolly, who only beat the August 31st transfer deadline with an hour to spare, added: “I got a call mid-afternoon from Mick McCarthy to say he was interested in signing me and he said he had been watching me for a year or so.
“It was a bit last-minute but I had been trying for a loan move, as long as it was the right club.
“As soon as I got the call from the gaffer I thought ‘Great move’ and quickly packed my bags, jumped in the car and shot down the motorway.
“There was a fair bit of interest and it was all about picking the best club. Ipswich came in for me at the right time and hopefully things will work out well over the next few months.
“It was a great experience to be thrown in at the deep end straight away at QPR. I had a good week’s training sessions and the manager rewarded me by putting me in the team.
“I had a bit of a tough battle with Jamie Mackie, who is a real handful of a player, but what mattered most was that at the end of the day we didn’t get the victory we were after. Hopefully there are better days ahead.
“I even had a chance to score right at the death and that would have saved a point. I could see the headlines but it just wasn’t meant to be and we’re looking to improve on Saturday.”
Connolly is in line to make his home debut this weekend when the visitors to Portman Road are Bolton, rooted to the bottom of the table, still seeking their first win of the season and beaten in each of their last four league games.
But the youngster warned: “This is a big game for us because we want to stay in and around the promotion places and three points will do that for us. But Bolton will still be a tough side to beat and I don’t think they will stay bottom for long.”
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