Connolly hoping to put his COVID troubles behind him after rare start

Winger has twice tested positive but returned to the starting XI against Forest Green

By James Heneghan
Thursday, 20th January 2022, 2:50 pm
Dylan Connolly last started a league game on September 25.
Dylan Connolly last started a league game on September 25.

Dylan Connolly is determined to 'kick-on' from his first league start in nearly four months after twice testing positive for coronavirus.

Prior to Saturday's visit of Forest Green Rovers, the 26-year-old winger had made only two starts in all competitions since Cobblers drew 2-2 with Salford on September 25.

But manager Jon Brady opted for an unusual approach against the league leaders at Sixfields, starting without an out-and-out striker as Connolly replaced Danny Rose.

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”It was good for me to get a start,” said the Irishman. “I feel I’ve been training really well and obviously the gaffer brought me in and I was delighted that I got an opportunity.

“The system was something we had worked on all week in training so we were ready and felt up for the game.

“It was a big game so we all had to be mentally ready and work hard and I thought we did.

“We were on the front foot and I felt we played well. It was good to be out there."

Having at times leaned heavily on his first-choice starting XI this season, Brady has regularly called for more from fringe players like Connolly.

But in the former Bradford man's defence, there have been mitigating factors behind his stop-start first campaign at Sixfields.

“I actually had Covid twice," Connolly revealed. "And that has hindered me this season because it’s hard to get fit again and train.

“I had a few symptoms and it was a bit disheartening as well to be honest because you get it, you come back and then you catch it again with the new variant and you have to isolate again.

“It was difficult mentally to take and I feel it took a bit of character to bounce back from that but I just want to kick on now.”

Connolly is now hoping to stay fit and show Cobblers fans that they are yet to see the best of him.

He added: “It all starts with training and working hard during the week and then working hard on the pitch when you get your minutes.

“I feel sharp and I’m raring to go and hopefully I can kick on from this and play more regularly."