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Connor Hall explains how learning to relax has helped his career at Bolton

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karlypants

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse
Connor Hall has revealed how he finally hit the goal trail after learning to relax at Wanderers.

The promising 19-year-old struck a second hat-trick of the campaign for David Lee’s Under-23s in a 5-2 win against Crewe on Monday night, taking his overall tally to nine.

Hall’s hard work since arriving from Sheffield United at the end of last season earned him a place in the first team’s summer tour of Scotland. But he had struggled to make an impact in front of goal for the Whites – failing to hit the target in his first five starts - until a chat with Phil Parkinson helped him change his mindset.

“I’d been working hard and the gaffer pulled me to one side to talk about the extra stuff I’d done,” he told The Bolton News.

“I’d been playing okay but not been scoring goals and he basically told me to just carry on and keep calm if I didn’t get anything in the next couple of games.

“He said even the world class strikers miss chances but they don’t let it faze them. You should care about missing an opportunity for 10 seconds and then get on with it. If you don’t, and dwell on it, you might be writing yourself out of the game for the next 10 minutes.

“It was good advice, it has helped me, and I have definitely tried to take it on board.”

Hall has got the Wanderers fans’ attention after claiming the match-ball against Crewe and Hull City in his last three games, with some now calling for him to make the step up to first team level permanently.

Scouts from clubs in Leagues One and Two are also keeping a close eye on his development with a view to loaning him out in January.

It has been a quick turnaround for the Slough-born front man, who after leaving Bramall Lane last season was considering resuming his career at non-league level before a contract offer came along at Bolton.

“I was quite confident I’d get something,” he said, “even if it was a chance to play in the non-league. Being a footballer is the only career I’ve ever considered. But coming back to Bolton and then getting the chance to go away to Scotland and play with the first team was incredible. I wasn’t really expecting it.

“Even going back to work with the Under-23s after that, I don’t let it affect me or see that as a step down. It’s where I work and if I keep working hard then I’ll get more chances.

“Now I have been with the first team to Sunderland and got on the bench against Norwich, so it working out well so far.”

Hall has no hard feelings about leaving Sheffield United – in fact he had been passed over by a handful of clubs before signing a one-year deal in South Yorkshire and moving north.

And the lack of an academy background gives him a slightly unique outlook among the polished youngsters whose skills have been honed over years within the club’s walls.

“Being a professional footballer still feels brand new to me,” he said. “I only signed my first contract at 18 and I’d not been based at a professional club before that, just a lot of trials.

“People kept telling me my technique wasn’t good enough, or I’m not quick enough or tall enough. I had lots of knock-backs.

“When I got the chance at Sheffield United it was fantastic. Like Bolton, they are a big club and I don’t have any bad feeling about leaving there. It’s football and I appreciate the chance they gave me.

“If I hadn’t have got anything at Bolton I would have been happy to go and play somewhere down the league, or non-league. The quality of football is still good down there but training two or three times a week is the big difference.

“Being away from home has helped too. You don’t have as many distractions when you’re not going back every night to see friends and family. It has made me concentrate on getting better.”

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