Callum Connolly: Young defence growing fast at Fleetwood Town

Callum Connolly says Fleetwood Town’s youthful defence is showing that age is just a number as they continue to block opponents out.

Friday, 19th March 2021, 8:00 am

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The Cod Army head into tomorrow’s home clash with Swindon Town on the back of four successive clean sheets.

Connolly has been starting alongside academy graduates Harrison Holgate, aged 20, and James Hill, 19, at the back.

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Callum Connolly celebrates his second goal of the season against Ipswich on Tuesday

Town are unbeaten in six League One games, winning four of them, and Everton loanee Connolly said: “It’s great but it’s not just the back five or six, it’s the whole team. Everybody is committing to the cause.

“The gaffer has got us more structured and everyone is enjoying their football at the minute. We’re scoring goals and keeping clean sheets. It’s a good time to be a Fleetwood player.”

Only 23 himself, Connolly said of Hill and Holgate: “The two lads have been great in the last few games. We just look very organised. The young lads are committing to the cause and throwing their heads and their bodies on the line.

“A lot of teams will come and see our team sheet with three young lads at the back, but we have got four clean sheets on the spin.”

Connolly opened the scoring in Tuesday’s 2-0 win over Ipswich Town from a trademark long throw by Hill and added: “It’s a serious weapon. We’ve been working on that in training and it paid off in the week. It was just about desire to get on the end of the ball.

“Hilly has been great since he’s come back into the team – the more clean sheets the better.”

Connolly has also been reinstated as captain in recent weeks.

He replaced Paul Coutts as skipper earlier in the season only for Paddy Madden to take the armband when Simon Wiles became interim boss in January.

But the Irishman had lost his place in the side before Monday’s surprise switch to Stockport County and Connolly said: “It’s a great feeling to be captain. It’s going well for me at the minute but I think everyone is a captain in there.

“Joey (Barton) gave me the armband first and the gaffer has now given it to me, with Paddy leaving and Couttsy leaving. It’s a great privilege and I’m just looking forward to the future.

“I’ve played a lot of positions but I enjoy this role (central defence) and it’s been going well this season.

“I wouldn’t say I have a preferred position. Whenever I’m playing well, I’d like to get a run of games in a position to get consistency.”

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