Colchester miss out on Black as boss

COLCHESTER United have been refused permission to speak to Birmingham City's first-team coach Eric Black, regarding the vacant manager's position at Layer Road.

By Carl Marston

COLCHESTER United have been refused permission to speak to Birmingham City's first-team coach Eric Black, regarding the vacant manager's position at Layer Road.

Birmingham boss Steve Bruce does not want to lose his coach, so the U's will have to look elsewhere for a successor to Phil Parkinson, who left to join Hull City earlier in the summer.

Ironically, Colchester's first game in their first-ever season in the Championship will be at St Andrews.

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Bruce revealed yesterday: “Colchester approached for Eric and we made our intentions clear, that he wasn't going anywhere, and he's agreed to stay.

“Anyone who has seen him, or has worked with him, knows exactly what he is all about and he's very, very good. I think it's 'in' at the moment - the young, tracksuit manager - after a couple of people have done well and if any club has done their homework, then they are going to consider Eric.”

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Former Coventry and Motherwell manager Black was also linked with a move to Northampton earlier in the summer, as well as a return to his native Scotland.

Meanwhile, Jamie Cureton was again on target as the U's secured a 2-0 win at AFC Sudbury in their second pre-season friendly last night, which doubled up as a Testimonial for Michael Cheetham, the former Cambridge United, Colchester and Sudbury winger.

Cureton had netted a hat-trick in Saturday's 3-1 victory at Heybridge, and he broke the deadlock midway through the first-half at the King's Marsh Stadium, racing onto Craig Hughes' pass to drill a shot past Sudbury keeper Nathan Munson.

Richard Garcia doubled the lead in the 72nd minute. The Australian lashed home a cross from triallist Solomon Pinnock.

Former Crewe left-back Anthony Tonkin was also given a trial by the U's last night. The 26-year-old, who moved to Gresty Road from Stockport County for £150,000 three years ago, made more than 90 appearances for Crewe, including 28 in their relegation from the Championship last season. He came on as a second-half substitute.

Chris Iwelumo, last season's leading scorer, did not play after picking up a niggling injury during the warm-up. But the Scotsman is confident of being fit for this Saturday's friendly at Bournemouth.

A crowd of 499 turned up to support Cheetham's Testimonial. The former Ipswich Town trainee had a couple of seasons at Colchester back in the mid-1990s, before being connected with Sudbury for the last 10 years, making 290 appearances for the old Sudbury Town and new AFC Sudbury.

Cheetham said: “It was great to see some old friends, and play a few minutes. I haven't played much for the last two years. I've doing more coaching instead, but now I'll have more time to go and watch a few of my old clubs in action.”

Cheetham played a cameo role at the start of the match, featuring for the first 15 minutes.

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