U’s fit-again Dickenson: ‘Top three is a bare minimum’
PUBLISHED: 05:44 10 August 2018
Brennan Dickenson, fighting fit again after all his injury woes, believes that Colchester United should be good enough to clinch automatic promotion this season, and not just target a top-seven play-off finish.
Dickenson played the full 90 minutes at Notts County last weekend, operating to good effect as a left wing-back in a 0-0 draw at Meadow Lane.
That’s a far cry from 12 months ago, when Dickenson was sidelined by cruciate ligament damage, suffered in April, which kept him out of action until February of this year.
Now the 25-year-old ex-Brighton and Gillingham winger is looking to make up for lost time, by helping to guide the U’s back into the third tier at the third time of asking, following relegation in 2016.
“I was delighted to start in the side last weekend,” enthused Dickenson.
“We should have come away with the three points in that game, because we had the better chances.
“There were some passive positives to come out of that match, and I think we can really push on for this season.
“For me, finishing in the top three is a bare minimum. We are all definitely pushing towards that aim.
“And for that to happen, we need to get our home form back to how it was during my first seasonhere (2016-17), when we didn’t lose many games.
“We need to make it (JobServe Community Stadium) a scary place for other teams to visit. We want the opposition to be frightened by our style of play,” added Dickenson.
The U’s kick off their home campaign with a clash against Port Vale tomorrow – the Valiants recorded an impressive 3-0 home win over Cambridge United on the opening day last weekend.
“The onus is on us, as the home team, to get on the front foot,” continued Dickenson.
“We have to make sure that we are nice and sharp, and get on the attack.
“Notts County, as the home, attacked us quite well last weekend, although we had no fear.
“We need to put on a show, for the fans, in our first home game, and we need to get the three points.
“Personally, my aim is to get back to the sort of form that I showed in my first season at the club, although that takes time.
“My knee is feeling strong, and I am feeling good within myself.
“Confidence is obviously a big thing, coming back from a long-term injury, and collectively everyone at the club had helped me. I have had no niggles, so far, touch-wood, and hopefully that will continue.”
Dickenson, following his switch from Gillingham, was a revelation during his debut season, scoring 12 goals in 36 league outings and creating several goals for his team-mates as the U’s finished just one point and one place adrift of the League Two play-offs.
But a 10-month absence with a knee injury really knocked him back, restricting his league appearances to just seven in 2017-18 as John McGreal’s men finished a disappointing 13th in the table.
Both Dickenson and fellow long-term injury victim, Luke Prosser, the club skipper, are back to full fitness now, and so feel like ‘new players.’
And Dickenson insists that the U’s ‘actual’ new faces – the likes of Frank Nouble, Harry Pell, Aaron Collins and Luke Norris – are a main reason why he feels that the U’s will be serious promotion contenders in 2018-19.
“The new players have all brought new characters to the team, and the dressing room,” said Dickenson.
“They have fitted in really well, and given us a new dimension. Now the challenge is to keep everyone fit.
“I think the club has recruited well, the new players giving a better balance to the team.”
Meanwhile, there as no transfer activity on deadline day at Colchester yesterday.
McGreal had signed up all his desired new recruits earlier in the summer, with the final piece in the jigsaw being Kane Vincent-Young’s decision to sign a new deal on Monday. Vincent-Young had delayed signing a contract, and so had to sit out the trip to Notts County.