Loan Watch | Ronan targeting promotion on loan

Connor Ronan is thriving on loan at Grasshopper Club Zürich and has helped his side reach the top of the Swiss Challenge League.

The 22-year-old midfielder has made ten appearances for his temporary club, scoring in their home win against Xamax last week. The Ireland under-21 international has his eyes on promotion to the Swiss Super League for his current team, but still holds aspirations of a return to Wolves in the future.

On his loan spell so far

“It's been good. At the start, when I first came over here, I picked up an injury in my first pre-season game, which obviously wasn't ideal.

“That kept me out for about four or five weeks. When you first go on loan, you don't want to pick up an injury straight away. I didn’t get to train with the team and get to know the players straight away, so it wasn't an ideal start, but since then it's been going up.

“Getting back to fitness and getting back involved in games was the biggest challenge from the start. Since I’ve been back from injury, I’ve played almost every game which is great. So, it’s good, it’s been positive so far.”

On his contact with Wolves

“It’s been good in terms of contact with Wolves. We all have a long group chat, but I think that the main contact I have is with Seyi Olofinjana, the loan manager.

“Whether it's a text before a game saying good luck or a weekly phone call to check up on how things are getting on, or if I have any problems on my side football or outside of football, he is always there for a phone call or for anything that you need.”

On the differences of playing in Switzerland

“It's a competitive league. I think coming over here, the main goal for the team and myself was to help the team as much as possible to get promoted, get back into the Super League.

“That's where the club wants to be, but I'd say it’s quite intense and it’s quite fast-paced compared to when I was in Slovakia (where he was on loan with DAC Dunajska Streda). It keeps you on your toes a little bit more.

“I think it’s not so much about the league, but the club that you're playing at, with Grasshoppers. It's kind of possession-based football and trying to control the game, which suits me. That played a big part in my decision to come here.”

On his goal against Xamax

“When you join a new club, you always want that first goal and, for me, I had a few half chances in my early games, which I was a little bit disappointed with missing, but the main feeling after that goal was probably relief more than anything.

“It takes a bit of weight off your shoulders and gives you that confidence to go on.”

On the midfield competition at Grasshoppers

“There's a lot of competition for places which is good. In an ideal world, you want to be playing every week and playing as much as possible, but then you also want that competition for places to bring out the best in you.

“I think, when you've got the shirt and you’re starting games, you are always aware that there's someone else breathing down your neck and waiting to get that starting place. It’s a little bit of pressure, but it brings the most out of you.”

On what he hopes to achieve at Grasshoppers

“The goal for the club and the goal for myself is to help the team as much as possible to get a promotion. This club belongs in the top division, which is pretty well-known in Switzerland.

“Nobody is trying to hide it. Every game matters so much towards that end goal. I want to help the team as much as possible to be able to achieve that.”

On the chance of glory

“I think when any player looks back at their career once they’re finished, the main thing that you’re going to look at is not only how many appearances you’ve had or your statistics, but about the trophies and promotions as your achievements.

“I think that at such a young age, especially for young loanees from Wolves like myself, coming out here and being able to get that opportunity to secure a promotion here so early on in your career is obviously a good thing to have under your belt for your confidence and the confidence of the team. It’s massive to have so early on in your career.”

On his progression and aspirations

“I’m picking up valuable experiences on every loan that I’ve been on. Before I came here, I signed a new contract with Wolves which was massive for me. It shows that the club still has some belief in me and that gives me the belief to keep going.

“One of the main things for me has been the physical side of things. I’ve always trusted my technical ability, but I’ve not always been the biggest.

“Going on loan abroad was more suited for my physicality at the time and I think I’ve improved on that strength-wise and fitness-wise. I’m trying to improve on all aspects of my game.”

On the future aim

“The end goal is always going to be to play for Wolves' first-team. Whether it’s in a couple of years or whenever it may happen, it’s always going to be the goal as long as I’ve got a contract at the football club, and from having a taste for it early on in my career.

“When I made my debut at 18, being around the first-team just gives you that hunger to get in and around it. If I need to keep going on loans to get the experience, then that’s what I’ll do, but like I said, that’s always going to be the end goal for me, to become a Wolves player.

“Within the loan spell, it would be great to get a promotion here at Grasshoppers and to play as many games as possible and then go back to Wolves and maybe get a chance to train and be around the first team and get the manager’s attention.”

Elsewhere on loan

  • Rafa Mir bagged a hat-trick and was named Man of the Match in SD Huesca’s tie against Marchamalo in the Copa Del Rey on Tuesday night.
  • Also in action on Tuesday night, Christian Herc came on at half-time for MFK Karvina as they came from behind to rescue a point against Jablonec in the Czech First League.
  • Dion Sanderson, Matija Sarkic, and Austin Samuels all started for Sunderland, Shrewsbury Town, and Bradford City respectively.

By Nikita Gomes Henschl