LUCA Connell is unsure what reception he will get at former club Bolton Wanderers tomorrow but is focused on securing himself a third promotion in as many seasons.
The 22-year-old midfielder spent more than a decade in the Bolton youth system then played ten Championship games for them as a teenager as they were relegated in the 2018/19 season and he joined Scottish giants Celtic.
Connell was booed off at Bolton earlier in the season by the home fans who felt he was time-wasting when taken off late on in the 0-0 draw.
He told the Chronicle: “I don’t really know what to expect, to be honest.
“I thought I would get a nice reception last time and, to be fair, at the start it was. But I think, in the heat of the game, we all got carried away, maybe.
“But it was fine and I look forward to going back there.
“There are still a few people I know there. One of the lads I did my scholarship with is the kitman now. It will be good to catch up with him.
“There’s a lot of noise around ‘it’s Bolton and you used to play there’.
“But it’s just anther two games and we’re looking forward to it.”
He added: “I was there since I was seven. I have got to thank them for everything they taught me. They helped me get to the stage I am now.
“I made my debut when I was 17.
“I have to be grateful for everyone at Bolton and the gaffer for trusting me when I was so young.
“The money the club got for me helped them get out of some debt. I felt it was the best move for me at the time but it didn’t work as I wanted.”
Connell did not play a first team game in four years at Celtic and was loaned out for the last two seasons to Queen’s Park who won the Scottish fourth tier then were promoted from the third tier in the play-offs a year ago.
“I definitely want three in a row. I don’t think that opportunity comes around too often. We will strive for that and hopefully I can make it three.
“I don’t think it’s disrespectful to say I am playing at a much higher level now and, if I can get a promotion at this level on my CV, it will be good, then next year we get to play in the Championship.”
Barnsley visit Bolton tomorrow before hosting them the following Friday.
Connell said: “They are a good side. They have gone well this season. There isn’t much in it. But we’ll look to win both games. Nothing changes. We will prepare the same as for every game.
“The gaffer is drilling that into us.
“If we can go and win 3-0 or 4-0, we wouldn’t turn it down. We don’t really want to bring a 1-1 back.
“We’ve turned up in most of the big games. We need to switch back on and realise how big it is and what a chance we have to do something for the club.
“A lot of us want to get to Wembley for the first time and get to the Championship.”