Alex and Macca continue to dazzle

Alex Gilbey

Alex Gilbey - Credit: Archant

Colchester United may have slumped to a home defeat last Saturday, but teenage duo Alex Gilbey and Macauley Bonne still managed to shine.

Midfielder Gilbey and striker Bonne have caught the eye with some dazzling displays in recent weeks and manager Joe Dunne singled them out for special praise after the 2-1 defeat to Swindon.

Gilbey was once again played out of position, on the left flank, while 18-year-old Bonne was making his full league debut, a week after marking his full senior debut with a goal in the FA Cup loss to Sheffield United.

“Macca (Bonne) and Alex Gilbey always tried to get on the ball, they never hid,” said Dunne.

“Alex gave the ball away at times, but never went into his shell.

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“He and Macca Bonne are a credit to us. If they can do that now, in this kind of environment, then they will do a lot better when the stadiums are full.

“You can either dig a hole and go and hide in it, or you can stand up.

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“Alex was great getting on the ball and trying to make things happen. Long may it continue.”

The U’s have only tasted victory once in their last 16 league and cup games, a run that has seen them slip to within three points of the drop-zone.

But Dunne is finally welcoming back a few of his long-term injured players, who are crucial to the club’s success.

Jabo Ibehre and Gavin Massey were second half substitutes on Saturday, after returning from hip and hamstring injuries respectively. Leading scorer Freddie Sears, meanwhile, was an unused substitute, following a month out with a sore hamstring.

And Sears followed this up with a brace of goals in a 5-2 win over an Ipswich Town XI, in a behind-closed-doors friendly yesterday afternoon, with Ibehre also bagged a goal.

Midfielder David Wright should also return to the squad for Saturday’s trip to Preston, following his own hamstring problem.

“We’ve got more options coming back,” confirmed Dunne, who has organised a practice match for today, against Ipswich Town.

“It’s a key next week for us, and I didn’t want to be in a situation (against Swindon) where I felt we had to put these players on.

Meanwhile, the U’s Under-18s host Plymouth in an FA Youth Cup second round tie this evening (7pm). The prize is a trip to Aston Villa.

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