Alex Gilbey focuses on U’s plight rather than contract talks

Alex Gilbey

Alex Gilbey - Credit: Richard Blaxall/Focus Images Ltd

Alex Gilbey might well not be at Colchester United next season, but the U’s long-serving midfielder would hate to leave on the back of a relegation.

Academy product Gilbey has been a mainstay of the U’s first team for the last three years, and celebrated his 100th league appearance for the Essex club on Tuesday night, with a 2-1 win at Bradford.

Gilbey’s current contract expires this summer and, according to manager Kevin Keen, talks have stalled with every possibility that the 21-year-old will leave this summer.

However, Gilbey is focusing on his short-term future, rather than his long-term future.

He wants to help an unlikely escape from relegation, as the U’s bid to bridge a daunting 10-point gap between themselves and League One safety during the final 12 fixtures of the season.

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“I leave all contract talk to my agent and the club,” insisted Gilbey.

“I just put that to the back of my mind and worry about that when it comes to it. My main focus is to play well and keep Colchester in the league. I’ve got to concentrate on 12 big games coming up, when maximum points are what is needed.

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“The contract talk I will leave until the summer. I’ll just completely put that to the back of my mind.

“Certainly, no one wants to get relegated, no matter who you are, especially me playing for Colchester.

“It’s the last thing I would want, especially for Colchester, not just for myself.”

Dagenham-born Gilbey, a former Gilberd School pupil, made his senior debut back in the autumn of 2012, in a Football Trophy match at Northampton on October 9, before chalking up his League debut against Oldham in December of that year.

The ex-youth team skipper has gone on to be a regular in the U’s first team, in the engine room, but had endured a frustrating few weeks in the build-up to Tuesday’s welcome victory at Bradford.

He was sent off in the Essex derby at Southend a month ago, for a late challenge on Ryan Leonard, and so was hit with a three-match ban.

“I was getting back to form, and then I got sent off at Southend. Mistakes happen, and then I got ill, so I couldn’t help the team,” said Gilbey.

“It was a red card, I can’t argue with that, but I’d never go in to deliberately hurt anyone or injure someone. I went in with my right leg and my standing foot came with me. I won the ball but went over it and hurt the lad.

“It was a mistake and a bad tackle, but I have to learn from this and make sure that it doesn’t happen again.

“That was the worst moment of my career. I let the lads down and I felt that I let the fans down as well.

“So when I got my chance, to get back in the side, I said to myself that I would make sure that I took it, and I did that at Bradford.”

Introduced as a substitute, just after the half-hour mark, following a four-match absence, Gilbey played out-of-his skin to help mastermind the U’s first league win in 133 days.

Gilbey added: “Now we want to build on that, and start inching our way up the table.”

Gilbey should star at Port Vale today.

See today’s East Anglian Daily Times newspaper for a full match preview of Port Vale v U’s

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