Brighton and Hove Albion striker Aaron Connolly keen to repeat his finest hour against Tottenham Hotspur

Brighton and Hove Albion striker Aaron Connolly hopes his injury problems are behind him and is ready to tackle Tottenham Hotspur once more.

Tuesday, 24th December 2019, 9:44 am
Updated Tuesday, 24th December 2019, 6:57 pm
Aaron Connolly scores his second goal for Brighton and Hove Albion during their 3-0 victory against Tottenham at the Amex last October

Connolly, 19, has impressed greatly during his breakthrough season at Albion. His finest moment arrived earlier this campaign when he produced a man of the match performance during a 3-0 victory against Spurs at the Amex Stadium in October.

It was the Irishman's first Premier League start and he was a total menace to established Premier League and international defenders Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen and capped his afternoon with two superbly taken goals.

Connolly was immediately called-up for the Republic of Ireland national team where he featured against Georgia and Switzerland.

Aaron Connolly takes on Tottenham playmaker Christian Eriksen

A couple of niggling injuries - one sustained in the first half at Manahcetser United and the other during an excellent display at Arsenal - has slowed his progress but a lively second half showing against Sheffield United last Saturday has made him a strong contender to start at Jose Mourinho's Tottenham on Boxing Day.

"His (Graham Potter's) message to me when I was coming on (against Sheffield United) was to just work hard, make runs and try to cause problems," said Connolly.

“I’d like to think I am over all the injuries. It has been a bit of struggle the last couple of weeks with the groin and then my hamstring. It is just about trying to find out how not to pick up little injuries.

"It is another big year coming up for me in 2020. If someone told me I would be in this position this time last year I wouldn’t have believed you.

Aaron Connolly scores his first against Tottenham last October

"I am grateful for everything that has happened this year and am hoping for a better year next year. I have had quite a few good days in football so I have to deal with the bad days as well.

"Everyone knows in football it is not always going to be good days, but it is just about dealing with them bad ones.”

Connolly, who signed a new three-and-a-half-year contract with Brighton last January, is determined to add more goals but his head coach Graham Potter has been impressed by his contribution to the team.

Potter said, "If you think back to the Arsenal game, I thought he contributed enormously in terms of his pressing and his help for the team, his running in behind. He is that type of player who means defenders aren’t comfortable, so he opens up space for others.

Graham Potter has given Aaron Connolly his chance to shine in the Premier League

“While, of course, we know he would want to score – that’s how he is and we would like him to score as well – he is not in the team necessarily for that solely."