Pardew had faith in Connolly

Saints boss believed striker could overcome recent injury problems

Connolly: Relishing fresh start with Saints

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Alan Pardew always believed David Connolly could overcome his past injury problems and rediscover his goalscoring touch.

The 32-year-old was snapped up by the Southampton manager on a free transfer having been released by Sunderland in the summer following a torrid two years with injuries.

Pardew admitted that had he not known Connolly's character - the pair worked together at West Ham six years ago - he would not have taken a gamble on a player who had made just five appearances in the past 26 months.

The Irishman, who made a name for himself at Wimbledon, has repaid his manager's faith by coming off the bench in each of the last two games to get himself on the scoresheet with his first goals since May 2007.

"There's no way I would have signed any other player who had been out of the game for so long," Pardew told The Sun.

"It's only the fact that I know the character of the player - and the diligence and the hard work he has put in.

"I trusted he would come back as near to the player that he was. His standards are such that, if they're not right, he'd walk away."

Backing

Saints team-mate Kelvin Davis, who played with the striker at Sunderland, believes Connolly can go on to form a lethal partnership with fellow frontman Rickie Lambert.

"Dave came close to hanging up his boots a couple of times," he stated. "But I think he's found a good place here to resurrect his career.

"When he first came here to just train, I was the first to tell him the positives of the place. It's a great football club and Dave can see that as well. His ability to score goals and win you matches is there for everyone to see.

"He's a very single-minded guy and I don't see why Dave and Rickie Lambert can't be the most potent strike force in this division."