Bradford City v Northampton Town – Direct approach can help Dylan Connolly be Bantams loan star

ONE TO WATCH: Dylan Connolly takes on West Ham United in last season's famous FA Cup victory over the Premier League club for AFC Wimbledon. Picture: Ben Stansall/Getty Images)
ONE TO WATCH: Dylan Connolly takes on West Ham United in last season's famous FA Cup victory over the Premier League club for AFC Wimbledon. Picture: Ben Stansall/Getty Images)
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Dylan Connolly’s deadline-day loan switch to Bradford City was only just completed before the summer transfer window slammed shut.

READ MORE - Bowyer relieved at shutting of transfer window

It’s a big following. When you’re on the pitch that can only make you play better and motivate you to run that extra five or 10 yards, knowing that there’s 15,000 fans there willing you on.

Dylan Connolly

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Bantams boss Gary Bowyer revealed that the season-long deal to bring the AFC Wimbledon winger to Valley Parade went through with just two minutes to spare on Monday evening.

But now that he has arrived, Connolly is intent on making an impression, starting against Northampton Town this weekend.

“I’m excited to get started. I’m ready to rock and roll,” he said.

“I’m fully confident that I can hit the ground running and be a success here.

“The main thing is to work hard and, hopefully by me working hard, I’ll produce the goods on the pitch.

“I haven’t got much game-time (at parent club Wimbledon) so I thought it was great for me to go out on loan and try and get some games under my belt.

“I was delighted when I knew that there was a chance for me to come here so I jumped on it.

“The manager gave me a call and sounded like he wanted me here. If a manager wants you then that’s a good thing.”

One of the reasons that Bowyer did want Connolly was for his ability to take on defenders and make things happen in and around the opposition penalty area.

“I’m a direct winger and like to get crosses into the box and shots away, so hopefully I can add some assists and some goals to the team,” the 24-year-old former Republic of Ireland under-21 international said.

“That’s the first thing that I do, run at people. I want to try and make things happen, try and create goals, give people goals by creating assists.

“That’s my game and hopefully they (the City supporters) are excited by what I have to offer.”

Connolly knows all about James Vaughan and Clayton Donaldson, the two men he is now charged with supplying the ammunition for, and is looking forward to working with them.

“I’ve seen them on TV and heard about their careers – they’ve had good careers,” the Irishman said of Bradford’s experienced front two.

“If you can put the ball in the box for them, you know they’ll score.

“It’s handy when you have two forwards like that up front.”

Though he has spent much of his career playing his football in his native Ireland, Connolly is no stranger to the English game.

Having started out at Shelbourne, he then moved to Ipswich Town before returning home with Bray Wanderers, whom he left for Dundalk in the summer of 2017.

Wimbledon then came calling in January of this year and Connolly made 15 appearances for the Wombles, debuting in their famous FA Cup giant killling of West Ham United.

“It started well at Wimbledon, the West Ham game was one I’ll remember for a long time,” he added.

“That was my first start. It was on the TV so I got to showcase what I can do on live television.

“We were struggling in the league and went out there and were 3-0 up in 15 minutes or something. I didn’t know what was going on.

“It was a good experience, me coming over from Ireland, it was a good test. It’s good to know where you are, what level you’re at playing against these top professionals.”

His move to West Yorkshire has seen him take a step down in terms of the level he is playing at, but Connolly knows he has joined a big club.

While Wimbledon attract crowds in the region of 4,000 at home games, more than three times that number regularly turn out at Valley Parade, a fact that has not escaped the winger.

“Obviously, this is a massive club.

“At the moment they get 14 or 15,000 fans on a Saturday, so that itself just shows you how big the club is,” added Connolly.

“It’s a big following. When you’re on the pitch that can only make you play better and motivate you to run that extra five or 10 yards, knowing that there’s 15,000 fans there willing you on.

“It’s exciting and I can’t wait to get out there and play in front of them.”

Connolly and fellow deadline-day arrival Aramide Oteh may well be handed the chance to do just that when Northampton visit today, with boss Bowyer confirming that the pair are “in the mix”.

One player who is not in contention to take on the Cobblers is Jamie Devitt, ruled out by hamstring injury picked up in midweek.