DYLAN Connolly’s answer was as direct as the wing play he has promised to bring to Valley Parade.

“It’s probably because they are cheap,” replied City’s latest loan man, when asked about the number of players making the move from the League of Ireland to England.

“There are some good players in the league. If you do well, you will get a move.

“Teams are looking out for players and know they can get them on the cheap and at a good level as well.

“Someone goes over and does very well, the next person will ask the manager ‘where did you get him from’, and then they’ll have a look at Ireland.

“You can get a nice little gem over there.”

The 24-year-old Dubliner had an 18-month stint at Ipswich before returning home to play for Bray and Dundalk, where he won the league and cup double in 2017.

New City team-mate Paudie O’Connor left his local club Limerick that year for Leeds. Eoin Doyle, currently on loan at Swindon, arrived in England via Shamrock Rovers and Sligo, where he played under his future Chesterfield manager Paul Cook.

“John Coleman is another manager who has had a few Irish players at Accrington,” added Connolly.

“It used to be the aim (of every Irish player to make it to England) but there are some big clubs there now. Dundalk, where I was at, is a massive club and have some great players.

“The league is developing and some players want to stay at home because of their families. Everyone has different ambitions.”

Connolly joined Wimbledon in January for an undisclosed fee, the first signing made by manager Wally Downes.

He wasted no time in announcing his arrival with a man-of-the-match display in his first start as the Dons shocked West Ham in the FA Cup.

“It started well at Wimbledon,” he said. “The West Ham game was one I’ll remember for a long time.

“It was on the TV and I got to showcase what I could do on live television in my first start.

“We were struggling in the league but just went out there with nothing to lose – we were 3-0 up after 50 minutes. I didn’t know what was going on!

“It was a good experience for me having just come back from Ireland. It was a good test to see what level you are when you’re playing against these top professionals.

“I’d seen them on the TV but until you’re on the pitch toe-to-toe, you don’t really know what they can do. It was vice-versa with them, they’d probably never even heard of me.”

He featured 14 times as Wimbledon climbed off the floor of League One, overhauling a nine-point deficit to stay up on goal difference with a last-day draw at City.

Connolly, who did not play that day, admitted: “We were lucky to get the draw because Bradford battered us. But the scenes at the end were great.

“It was good to be part of the Great Escape as we called it. It was built on team spirit and hard work.

“Once everyone is working for the cause and for each other, you can go a long way with that mentality.

“There was no pressure because everyone had written us off and were saying we were gone.

“Then you could see us just creeping up and by the second last game, we got out of it. It’s that momentum that drives you and keeps you going.”

But opportunities have been limited for the winger this season with just three sub appearances and an hour in the Carabao Cup.

So when the call came late on deadline day – with the clock ticking away towards the 5pm cut-off point – Connolly needed no time in accepting the invitation to head north.

One Wimbledon website described his speed on the pitch like Road Runner. He certainly fancies the chance to impress a bigger audience flying down the flanks at Valley Parade.

“When you’re on the pitch, a big crowd can only make you play better,” he added.

“It can only motivate you to run that extra five or 10 yards when you’ve got 15,000 fans there willing you on.

“I hope to excite the crowd. My first thing is to run at people and try to make things happen.

“I want to create goals and assists, that’s my game.

“Hopefully people will get excited by what I have to offer.

“I wouldn’t come here if I didn’t think I could be a success. I'm fully confident."