Well then, Luca Connell, what a debut. Six scouts from various clubs were in the UniBol on Saturday and they all left after he came off, no doubt going back to the likes of Southampton, Brighton and Spurs with glowing reviews. I’m not one for getting over excited about young talent and I thought Parky was warranted in his decision to substitute him (though the timing didn’t help). But his debut was definitely one I’ll remember and it has been nice to see the likes of him and Pritchard in the first team in recent weeks.
Connell gave a performance ahead of his years in the middle against Reading. He was assured in possession and comfortable on the ball, he distributed it well and it was nice to see a centre mid with that range of passing in a Bolton shirt. He couldn’t do anything wrong and the only thing this performance was missing was a goal. Although he did come close, hitting a nice half volley that Martinez got down well to save.
Wanderers were starting to grow into the game in the second half and Connell was part of everything good that happened with our attacking play. But as the half went on he visibly started to tire. Parkinson opted to replace him on the 72nd minute for Pritchard and the fans vented their frustrations at what they thought was a poor decision. The mood changed in the ground after that and only got worse after Reading were awarded a penalty because Gareth McLeary tripped over his own feet. Parkinson wasn’t happy with the supporters after the game and while his decision to take Connell off was justified, I don’t think that the fans anger was solely about this, more of a collective outburst of frustration at the state of the club.
I hope that Connell signs as a professional and doesn’t leave us for nothing! But just in-case he doesn’t and years later we’re watching him give a similar performance to that against Reading for Spurs, then I’ll no doubt be chatting on about how he came through at Bolton and how he’s one of our own.