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Connolly hopes he’s made his mark in the middle of midfield

PUBLISHED: 17:00 07 March 2018

Callum Connolly, pictured in the thick of the action against Norwich. Picture Pagepix

Callum Connolly, pictured in the thick of the action against Norwich. Picture Pagepix

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Callum Connolly hopes he’s found his home in the middle of midfield.

Martyn Waghorn celebrates his second half goal at Hillsborough with Callum Connolly Picture Pagepix Martyn Waghorn celebrates his second half goal at Hillsborough with Callum Connolly Picture Pagepix

The young Evertonian loanee arrived at Portman Road at the end of the summer transfer window as a back-up right back who could also play in the middle of defence or in midfield, but has become a regular fixture in the Ipswich Town engine room.

Connolly’s tenacity and all-action approach was in evidence again in Tuesday night’s victory over Sheffield Wednesday, in which he laid on Martyn Waghorn’s opener, with the 20-year-old now hoping he can be viewed as a full-time central midfield.

“I hope so,” Connolly said when asked if he saw himself as a central midfielder now. “I’m enjoying myself in midfield and I just want to get more and more experience in there.

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“I’ve been a versatile player, but I’m enjoying playing in midfield and I just need more games there to really learn the position and learn the trade in there.

“The gaffer has shown a lot of trust in me and I have to repay him with performances.”

Manager Mick McCarthy recently described Connolly as a model professional, with the midfielder believing his approach to his career off the pitch, which includes a regular diet of salmon and pasta, has played a big role in his development on it.

“I feel like I am very good off the pitch – I eat well, sleep well and prepare for the games well,” he said.

“I think a few of the lads have said I’ve got an old head on my shoulders but I think that’s because I like all the old 80s and 90s music!

“I do feel like I’ve got a good head on my shoulders. I need to learn of the players around me and I feel like I’m doing that.”

MORE: ‘I never said we’d stop trying’ - McCarthy still thinks play-offs are out of reach despite Wednesday win

Back-to-back away wins at Preston and then Hillsboro.ugh are followed by home games with Sheffield United (Saturday) and Hull (Tuesday), with Connolly accepting his side need to improve their form at Portman Road having won just one of their five games in Suffolk in 2018

“I know the fans haven’t been happy with the performances recently at home and I understand that. We hold our hands up, it hasn’t been the best and we take that on the chin. We’ll be looking to put that right.

“If we’re doing well and you hear the cheers it gives you a boost of confidence, but if it’s not going well and you don’t hear those cheers it impacts how you play.

“To be fair I’ve been blocking that out and just focussing on myself and the team.”

If, like me, you remember the Green’Un Saturday night football paper, produced here in Ipswich, you probably do so with fondness.

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Ipswich Town goalkeeper Bartosz Bialkowski came on as a half-time substitute as he made his international debut for Poland this evening.

While much of the focus at Ipswich Town is on resolving matters off the pitch between now and the end of the season, on the field the Blues are battling to finish above local rivals Norwich.

Jonas Knudsen was an unused substitute as Denmark beat Panama 1-0 in Copenhagen last night.

Stuart Watson, Andy Warren and Mike Bacon are joined by Phil Ham of TWTD to discuss the state of Ipswich Town heading into the final weeks of the season.

Being released by his beloved Ipswich Town as a 16-year-old has turned out to be the best thing that could have happened to new England goalkeeper Nick Pope

Making his England debut and earning a place at the World Cup was a long way from Nick Pope’s mind as the teenager hauled himself out of bed for his 4am milk rounds in Soham.

Young Ipswich Town striker Ben Morris is hungry for more after making his Championship debut recently.

The future of Mick McCarthy and the direction of Ipswich Town cast a shadow over the final weeks of the season, but there are still plenty of issues to be sorted at Portman Road. ANDY WARREN takes a look

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