A nap hand: Colchester United's new 'famous five' hoping to make their mark
PUBLISHED: 06:00 01 September 2017 | UPDATED: 08:42 01 September 2017
Not one, not two, but three new players arrived at Colchester United on transfer deadline day yesterday, as manager John McGreal took steps to bolster his squad ahead of a testing next few months.
The transfer window has now slammed shut, until the turn of next year, so the U’s must go with what they’ve got – which is a good deal of youthful talent in their squad, but with experience (in terms of age) sadly lacking.
On the plus side, striker-cum-winger Sanmi Odelusi (permanent), fellow front-runner Brandon Hanlan (loan) and young midfielder Brandon Comley (loan) were all recruited yesterday, and all were training with the first-team squad at the club’s training headquarters at Florence Park, Tiptree.
Comley and Odelusi have a good deal of first-team experience, on the Football League scene, although Hanlan is a little more inexperienced.
Midfielder Comley, a 21-year-old Londoner, has been on the professional books of QPR since 2014, and has made a couple of league appearances for the Loftus Road club. He has arrived on loan until January.
The strong-tackling Comley, who is eligible to play international football for Montserrat (through his grand-parents) has played most of his football on loan at League Two clubs Carlisle and Grimsby Town.
He rattled up 33 league games for Grimsby last term, including making a 56th minute substitute appearance during the Mariners’ 1-0 win over the U’s at Blundell Park on February 28.
“I want to continue to develop myself as a player,” explained Comely.
“It’s hard to break into the QPR first team, and the midfield positions are really stacked.
“I like to think of myself as a player who can mix it up. First and foremost, I like winning the ball back and I like pressing.
“But I feel like I can do the other side of the game as well, playing nice football when it needs to be played. I only got here today (yesterday), and I really enjoyed my first training session. It was quick intensity, I got stuck in.
“I want to be playing first-team football, that’s the goal that everyone wants – people’s mortgages are on the line – from when they are very young. I’ve come here to do just that.
“I want to be playing week in, week out,playing for the three points, it stands you in good stead for the future
“If you just keep playing under-23s football, then it’s a little bit tappy, tappy. No one is going in for those tackles, because it is not always based around winning.
“It can sometimes get a little bit repetitive. You sometimes lose some of that winning mentality, and that’s something I really want to have, playing men’s football.
“I came on as a sub (for Grimsby) against Colchester last season, and they gave us one of our toughest games. They were pressing on towards the end,” added Comely.
Odelusi, meanwhile, was most recently on the books of Wigan Athletic, having started his career at Bolton Wanderers (2002-15).
The 24-year-old Dagenham-born attacker has played on loan at the likes of MK Dons, Coventry, Rochdale and Blackpool, and has arrived on a permanent deal until January of next year.
Odelusi enthused: “Colchester United is a good club to start your career, and get yourself back on track. The way that the club is run, and the philosophy that they have, really does help. This is my sort of club.
“I am fairly used to this league (League Two), but you have to get grips with it quickly because the games come thick and fast.
“I can play off the left and right, off the striker and up top. I can do a job in all these positions.
“I like to create chances and score goals. I am a flair player, I like to get on the ball and to beat players, and do the tricky stuff,” added Odelusi.
Fellow front-runner Hanlan, 20, the U’s third signing of the day, has made nine league appearances for his parent club Charlton, and he scored four goals in eight league outings during a loan stint at National League club Bromley earlier in the year.
Like Comely, he has signed on loan until January.
So the numbers are up, with McGreal’s options increased, although it must be said that the U’s have not been able to add an experienced striker to their books.
Competition in the transfer market is fierce, especially in the days leading up to a window closing, and the U’s do still seem to be lacking a wily target man to replace Chris Porter, who bagged 16 goals last season before his summer switch to Crewe.
The U’s are away at Cambridge United tomorrow.