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Ryan Dickson ready to fill the shoes left by Luke Garbutt at Colchester United

06:00 03 February 2014

Ryan Dickson

Ryan Dickson

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Ryan Dickson is ready to prove that there is life after Luke Garbutt, at Colchester United.

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Summer signing Dickson has had to play second fiddle to the talented Garbutt over the last four months, but now that the 20-year-old loanee has been recalled by parent club Everton, the way is open for Dickson to cement his place in the Colchester United starting XI.

Recruited as the U’s first choice left-back last July, from Southampton, Dickson began the season with a bang until he was knocked back by a debilitating illness in September.

While the experienced 27-year-old was struggling to recover from the mystery virus – he was effectively out of action for two months – Garbutt was signed as a ready replacement from Premier League outfit Everton.

Garbutt’s initial one-month loan stay was extended not once, but twice, such was the big impact made by the Harrogate-born defender.

He played 19 games, contributed three goals, and provided several assists for team-mates, until Everton boss Roberto Martinez suddenly recalled him on Tuesday, so that he could be named in their squad for the Merseyside derby against Liverpool, a game the Toffees lost 4-0 – Garbutt was an unused substitute.

While Garbutt is looking forward to life back at Goodison Park, Dickson is ready to take his chance with both hands at Colchester.

“I just want to get back playing regularly again, and enjoy a run in the team. I can’t wait,” insisted Dickson yesterday.

“It’s so frustrating to have yet another game (Peterborough away on Saturday) called off, but I suppose you could say that we are getting used to it now.

“We try and train all week, while putting the threat of the game being called off to one side, but it’s difficult because it’s always there in the back of your mind.”

Although Dickson was frustrated to be playing second fiddle to Garbutt, he fully understood manager Joe Dunne’s decision to stick with the Everton loanee.

“Luke came in and did very well. In fact, I think he did better than anyone expected,” explained Dickson.

“It was just one of those things where I couldn’t get back into the team, after recovering from my illness. I suppose it gave me extra time to get fully fit again, and there’s never any guarantee of a place in the team. I just had to wait.

“I did get a few games playing on the left wing, which is where I started my career (at Plymouth). I also sometimes used to play on the left side of a diamond shape, when at Southampton.

“But left-back is my specialist position, and that’s where I want to be playing. Hopefully, I can get back in the team and then stay there for the rest of the season.

“We still have 20 games to play, so it’s nearly half-a-season ahead of us. And morale is very high at the moment, due to the excellent recent run (13 points from a possible 18 in the last six matches). It’s just that this run of postponed games has come at the wrong time, because we would have liked to have kept our momentum going.

“Three weeks is a long time to go without a game. It’s like a mini-season break, and all the rain has also meant disruption to training.

“But I just can’t wait to start playing again, and getting back to where I was before I got ill. That means getting games under my belt.”

Dunne has already confirmed that he is no desperate need to recruit a new left-back, when the emergency loan window reopens in a week’s time.

“We’ve got Ryan (Dickson), so I’m not looking for another replacement (for Garbutt),” said Dunne.

“I’ve had plenty of calls, from plenty of people, noticing that Luke has gone back. I’ve had maybe 10 or 11 left-backs thrown at me! I didn’t think 10 or 11 left-backs existed!

“It just generates interest, but I’m comfortable with my squad.”

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