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Kings of Anglia Issue 8 Magazine Offer

‘We rate Dillon very highly’ – U’s boss McGreal

PUBLISHED: 06:00 08 August 2018

Dillion Barnes keeps his eye on the ball during the pre-season fixture against Millwall. Picture: STEVE WALLER

Dillion Barnes keeps his eye on the ball during the pre-season fixture against Millwall. Picture: STEVE WALLER

© Copyright Stephen Waller

Colchester United boss, John McGreal, has faith in young Dillon Barnes to fill the sizeable boots left by former No. 1 stalwart Sam Walker.

Barnes was rewarded with a starting berth on the opening day of the season, at Notts County last weekend, and celebrated with a clean-sheet in a goalless draw.

The 22-year-old Londoner was making only his third league appearance, after playing in the last two games of last season – Walker’s future was very much up-in-the-air by then, following his 200th league appearance for the Essex club and also his contract expiring in the summer.

Barnes kept a clean-sheet on his league debut, a 0-0 home draw against Swindon, before also playing in the final-day 1-0 defeat at Exeter City.

Walker’s eventual move to Reading, on a three-year deal, has paved the way for Barnes to establish himself this season.

McGreal confirmed: “We rate Dillon really highly.

He’s got a lot to learn still, but he looks a composed boy with some good distribution and it was great for him to get another clean-sheet.

“There’s a lot more to come from Dillon.”

Previously on the books of Barnet and Fulham, without making a senior appearance for either club, Barnes went on loan to Welling United and Hemel Hempstead Town to get some competitive action last season, in National League South.

McGreal does have Rene Gilmartin, the goalkeeping coach, as an option, while former West Brom trainee Ethan Ross, a summer signing, was on the bench at Notts County.

But Barnes is in possession of the shirt, and he will want to keep it that way over the coming months.

Referring to last weekend’s opening day draw, McGreal said: “I think it was a good point.

“I don’t want to put extra pressure on the boys, but you saw a lot of self-management on the pitch, and they put in a fantastic performance.

“We haven’t got the win we wanted, but a point is the next best thing, against a very physical side. Visually, we looked a good strong, athletic team, but also with the passing movements still there.

“New boy Harry Pell was excellent for us, and very vocal as well. He shows his personality in the dressing room as well as out on the pitch. Harry will improve and we are improving as a result. I thought, he was a great foil for Tom Lapslie in midfield,” added McGreal.

The U’s are looking forward to their first home game of the season, against Port Vale this Saturday.

Kayden Jackson is hoping his goal in Tuesday night’s 1-1 draw with Brentford is the first of many as he continues to get to grips with the challenge of the Championship.

Paul Hurst doesn’t expect midfielder Teddy Bishop to be out for too long despite picking up a hamstring injury but Jon Walters is now a doubt for Saturday’s game with Bolton.

In our new daily feature, we take a look back at what happened on this day in Ipswich Town history.

Ipswich Town came-from-behind to draw 1-1 with Brentford at Portman Road last night. STUART WATSON gives his snap verdict.

Ipswich Town manager Paul Hurst hailed the character of his players following their gutsy comeback draw against Brentford at Portman Road tonight.

Andy Warren hands out his player grades following Ipswich Town’s 1-1 draw with Brentford at Portman Road.

Ipswich Town produced a second-half turnaround as they battled back to secure a 1-1 draw against Brentford on the night the club paid tribute to the late Kevin Beattie.

Ipswich Town take on Brentford this evening as they search for their first victory under manager Paul Hurst (7.45pm).

Ipswich Town’s players, staff, fans and legends paid an emotional tribute to the late, great, Kevin Beattie prior to kick-off of this evening’s clash with Brentford.

Paul Hurst is not hiding from the fact he could face the sack if his winless start to life as Ipswich Town manager goes on much longer.

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