Aidan postpones retirement - again!
AIDAN Davison can't get a game at the moment, but the experienced keeper is still held in very high regard at Layer Road.So much so, in fact, that the 38-year-old put pen to paper on a new deal yesterday, that will keep him at Colchester United until the end of next season.
By Carl Marston
AIDAN Davison can't get a game at the moment, but the experienced keeper is still held in very high regard at Layer Road.
So much so, in fact, that the 38-year-old put pen to paper on a new deal yesterday, that will keep him at Colchester United until the end of next season.
He will celebrate his 40th birthday just days after the conclusion to next season (May 11), but between now and then he will want to regain his No. 1 berth, as well as help with the continued development of current first-choice Dean Gerken, and teenager Mark Cousins, in his additional role as goalkeeping coach.
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Davison is set to be on the substitutes' bench again this evening, with Gerken enjoying his 11th game on the trot against promotion-chasing Preston. Gerken has taken his chance with both hands since his mentor picked up a chest injury at the end of November.
Manager Geraint Williams said: “Aidan (Davison) has done well in his dual role as a player and a goalkeeping coach, and he still has a lot to offer the team.
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“I'm delighted to say that he has signed a new contract. His coaching of Dean Gerken and Mark Cousins has been top quality. He has really helped both of them to come on.
“And of course Aidan still wants to get his place back in the team. He is keeping the pressure on Dean, who is having to maintain high standards to keep his place. Aidan is working hard to get back in the side, so it's all good competition for places,” added Williams.
Gerken, who is 17 years Davison's junior, is currently enjoying his longest-ever run in the team - his previous longest was an eight-game streak during the autumn of 2004.
And even though the U's have yet to win this year, in four attempts, Gerken has maintained a high level of performance against recent opponents QPR, Barnet, Leicester and Ipswich.
Davison was planning for this to be his final year as a player, but as he joked last night: “I've been retiring for about five years now!”
There is competition for places all over the pitch, and not just in goal, for this evening's visit of Preston.
New signing Matthew Mills, snapped up on loan from Manchester City, is hoping to make his U's debut in the heart of defence, either from the start or from the bench.
Williams confirmed that fellow centre-half Pat Baldwin is still feeling a little “under-the-weather” with a virus. “Pat will be seeing someone later in the week, but he's OK and is in the squad,” said the U's boss.
Garry Richards replaced Baldwin to partner Wayne Brown at the back against Ipswich Town in the U's last outing, which ended in a 3-2 defeat. The Essex club have had a 10-day break since that last match, during which they had a three-day break in Spain to recharge their batteries.
Jamie Cureton missed the game at Ipswich, due to a tight hamstring, and he only returned to full training yesterday. But the 13-goal striker is hoping to return to action this evening.
“Jamie (Cureton) had no ill effects after training, and hopefully that will also be the case in the morning,” continued Williams.
“He has taken things easy, but says that he feels fine. We are all looking forward to this game after our recent break.
“Preston have been in winning form, and I watched them win 2-0 at Crystal Palace in the FA Cup on Saturday. They put in a very solid performance, and are very tough to beat.”
The U's have not tasted defeat on home soil since August, and they will be looking to extend that excellent record to 13 home matches unbeaten tonight.
After 11 home victories on the bounce, United were held to a 1-1 draw by visiting Leicester City in their last Layer Road outing. They have since dropped three places to ninth in the Championship table, five points adrift of the play-offs.
The U's home match against West Brom, scheduled for Saturday, February 17, has been postponed because the Baggies are still in the FA Cup. A new date has not yet been fixed.