Mick McCarthy’s golden advice at Wolverhampton Wanderers has stuck with Connolly

Mark Connolly was superb
Mark Connolly was superb
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Defend first - a simple but valuable piece of advice from former Wolves and Ireland manager Mick McCarthy.

It is something that has stuck with Crawley Town centre-back Mark Connolly and something he bases his game on.

As a youth Connolly played under his fellow countryman at Wolves before joining Bolton Wanderers and the basic bit of advice is something he has implemented into his game ever since.

The Reds centre-back said: “Myself Joe (McNerney) and Josh (Yorwerth) complement each other as defenders. We know when to play and when to defend.

“You have to defend first as a centre-half, that was something that Mick McCarthy told me at Wolves, he said you have to know when you can play football, but always defend first.”

It’s been a mixed season at the back for Crawley, with a number of different pairings in the central defence.

Injuries and loans have meant McNerney, Yorwerth and Connolly have all spent time out of the side, throwing young Alex Davey into the back-four, who has now returned to Chelsea.

More recently with his first choice centre-halves all fit, Dermot Drummy has opted for a three-man system and wing backs, which has, on the whole, worked well.

Connolly said: “It’s been difficult, especially playing at centre-half with different partnerships. Myself and Joe started the season, before he got injured and it changed with Alex Davey coming in.

“Josh has now come back from his loan spell in Wales and is looking great.

“Plymouth away (2-0 defeat) we definitely deserved more than we got, but in that game and those more recently we have been playing a back-three. We have not really worked on that much as a formation, but we complement each other.”

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