Close relationship sealed Williams' loan

THE close relationship between Colchester United manager Paul Lambert, and Aston Villa boss Martin O'Neill, paved the way for Sam Williams' move to the U's.

Carl Marston

THE close relationship between Colchester United manager Paul Lambert, and Aston Villa boss Martin O'Neill, paved the way for Sam Williams' move to the U's.

And it could well prove to be a match-made-in-heaven for both clubs, with Williams intent on banging home some goals for the U's, as well as boosting his long-term aspirations at Villa Park.

The 21-year-old crowned an impressive debut with the only goal of the game at Bournemouth on Tuesday evening, to propel the U's into the southern area semi-finals of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy, and so effectively just two steps away from a Wembley appearance.

Having signed on a three-month loan deal on Monday, former Wrexham and Brighton loanee Williams was soon into his stride at Dean Court. He swept home Kem Izzet's cross in the 17th minute.

Now U's fans will be hoping that he can build on this eye-catching start over the coming weeks, beginning with this Saturday's FA Cup first round tie at home to Leyton Orient. They will also be hoping that Williams' arrival might set a trend of loan players coming from Villa Park to the Community Stadium!

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The O'Neill/Lambert connection was cemented at Celtic, where O'Neill was the manager from 2000 to 2005, and Lambert was a player from 1997 to '05.

“As soon as I knew that Colchester had come in for me, I thought it would be a great move,” insisted Williams.

“Paul Lambert knows Martin O'Neill quite well. I believe that the two exchanged words about me. Martin (O'Neill) put out a good reference for me, and Paul (Lambert) jumped in.

“I think that I will offer hard work, enthusiasm and good movement to the team. I also hope to score a lot of goals as well.

“I leant my football in a very good under-18 Academy team at Villa. In fact, seven of that side are currently playing in the Premier League for different clubs.

“Training with the first team, alongside so many good players at Villa, also helps. That has stood me in good stead,” added Williams.

Welshman Williams, who was actually born in Greenwich, is in line to start again against Leyton Orient, although fellow striker Clive Platt will also be pushing for a recall after missing the Bournemouth trip with a dead leg. Williams partnered Scott Vernon up front against the Cherries.

Williams can hardly wait. He explained: “As a footballer, I don't think you feel like you're doing your job properly unless you are playing for the first team.

“I've played a few games for the Reserves at Villa this season, and scored a few goals, but there's only a limited number of matches. I want to play more regularly.

“That's why this Colchester move should be good for me. I want to play as many games as I can, and score as many goals as I can, so I'm not being greedy.” added Williams wryly.

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