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Monday 19 Dec 2022
NI Player Watch | Bradley nets sixth goal of season

Teenage defender Conor Bradley chalked up his sixth goal of the campaign as he helped Bolton Wanderers to a 2-0 home win over Exeter City in League One at the weekend.

The Dungannon-born wing-back, who also has five assists to credit this term, admitted after the victory that his goal return should be higher than the half dozen he has scored to date.

“I probably should have more goals than I do,” he told Bolton News. “but six isn’t too bad for the season so far, hopefully I can push on now and get some more in the rest of the season.”

Bradley, who is on a season-long loan from Premier League outfit Liverpool, admits he would love to end the season at Bolton with 10 goals and an equal number of assists.

“The gaffer wants me to get on the back post, get chances, and he wants me to take more than I don’t,” he added.

“He definitely instils in me that I should be breaking my butt to get into the box and get on the end of things, and thankfully it has got me goals.

“I probably looked at getting double figures on goals and assists at the start of the season. If I hit that I think I’ll be doing alright.”

It was also a good weekend for Bradley’s club and international team-mate Dion Charles who scored Bolton Wanderers second and decisive goal against Exeter City to take his tally to four in his last four outings and to 10 in total for the season.

Elsewhere, striker Paul Smyth hit yet another screamer as Leyton Orient stretched their lead at the top of League Two to six points following a 2-0 win over Sutton United at the Breyer Group Stadium.

New Northern Ireland boss Michael O’Neill will be pleased to have seen the return of defender Daniel Ballard on Saturday after the 23-year-old came on as a first half substitute in Sunderland’s draw at Hull City after four long months out with a broken foot.

Speaking to Chronicle Live after the game the former Arsenal central defender said: “I’m just delighted to get that first one out of the way because it can always be tough, and hopefully I can just keep working hard and get back in the team.”

Meanwhile in the Scottish Premiership Matthew Kennedy played in Aberdeen’s 1-0 home defeat to leaders Celtic while Michael Smith was man of the match as Hearts recorded a 3-1 win over Kilmarnock, who had Liam Donnelly in their starting line-up and Jordan Jones on the bench. 

Finally, in the Women’s League Cup, Sarah McFadden was in the Durham Women’s team that sprung a shock by beating WSL side Everton 1-0 while striker Lauren Wade was a late substitute in Reading’s emphatic 4-0 away win at Coventry United.