Middlesbrough brought in Brighton and Hove Albion striker Aaron Connolly in January, but the loan move didn’t bear fruit with the Irishman scoring just twice in 19 appearances.
Middlesbrough won’t be bringing Connolly back to the Riverside most likely, and Boro boss Chris Wilder will explore other avenues this summer.
However, despite a poor loan spell last time out, Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny has lent his support to the forward, suggesting he will bounce back.
Connolly was left out of the Republic of Ireland squad for their upcoming Nations League fixtures in June. They will take on Armenia, and Scotland, as well as a double header against Ukraine.
In an interview which appears on Sussex Live, Kenny rationalised his decision to leave the 22-year-old at home, stating an injury has kept him out of the side.
“Aaron Connolly is not in the squad of course. He doesn’t feel right himself and towards the end of the season, he was getting injections to play. It has caused him a lot of discomfort. He wasn’t available for selection.”
Kenny went on to discuss Connolly’s loan spell at Middlesbrough, stating that he suspects the striker will be loaned out again in the coming months.
“That’s a saying that they have, with most first loans not being successful. He played a lot of games for Middlesbrough and it was a good experience for him. I’m sure if he has another loan move it will be better for him.
“I’ve no knowledge of [whether he will be loaned out again], but you would suspect that would be the case.”
Back at parent club Brighton and Hove Albion, the likes of Neal Maupay and Danny Welbeck are ahead of Connolly in the pecking order at present, whilst Graham Potter’s side are also in the market to sign another frontman, pushing Connolly further out of the picture.
A loan switch away from the AMEX Stadium would likely be the best option for all parties. Connolly gets to play regular football, Brighton and Hove Albion get Connolly back after gaining experience, and a new loan club get the benefits of his services.