Academy: Connolly in the groove

A return to action and a winning one at that, Jack Connolly believes his long-awaited comeback has been made easier by Sunderland under-18s’ recent upturn in form.

The youth team have enjoyed a positive run of results over the last six days, securing four points from two fixtures.

While a ruthless display against Liverpool last saw the Black Cats end a run of run of four straight defeats, Mark Atkinson’s side then earned their fourth point in two matches when they secured a point over Tyne-Wear rivals Newcastle United on Tuesday.

Now the challenge is for the under-18s to continue their recent upturn in fortunes as Atkinson takes his side to Derby County on Saturday.

And speaking to, Connolly admitted is he delighted to be back involved, admitting it is always easier to settle into the groove while the team are doing well.

“Since I have been back it has been great,” he said.

“I’ve been getting some games under my belt and it has helped that the results have improved.

“The dressing room is good at the moment, all the lads have helped me out so it has been a good time to get back involved.

“We were disappointed to be knocked out of the FA Youth Cup last month so we played Newcastle hoping to get something.

“We probably could’ve won the match but the point is one we are happy with and hopefully now we can get all three on Saturday at Derby County.”  

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