Colchester United ace Sammie Szmodics relishes return to Bradford

Sammie Szmodics rams home another goal on his way to a hat-trick for the U's Under-18s at Bradford l

Sammie Szmodics rams home another goal on his way to a hat-trick for the U's Under-18s at Bradford last April - Credit: Richard Blaxall

Sammie Szmodics is still in the very early stages of his career, but he already has a favourite away ground – Bradford City.

Attacking midfielder Szmodics is set for his sixth successive appearance in the U’s first team, away at Phil Parkinson’s in-form Bradford today.

And Valley Parade already holds special memories for Szmodics, because that was where he celebrated a hat-trick in the U’s Under-18s terrific 4-2 victory in last season’s Youth Alliance National Cup Final.

After Macauley Bonne had broken the deadlock early on, Szmodics weighed in with three goals to seal a 4-2 win over the Bantams, and so wrap up a league-cup double.

“It was a special evening,” recalled Szmodics.

“I scored my hat-trick there, and that’s been on my mind all this week, ahead of the return to Bradford.

“Hopefully we can get another good win, like my visit from last season, though I’m not sure about the hat-trick this time!” added Szmodics.

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Six members of that all-conquering under-18 squad have already featured for the first team this season – Szmodics, Bonne, Tom Lapslie, Dion Sembie-Ferris, Michael O’Donoghue and Frankie Kent.

Both centre-half Kent and left-back O’Donoghue are currently nursing long-term injures – Kent is hoping to be back in the frame by the end of next month –but the other four are all set to be in the travelling party this weekend.

“So many of us have come through, from that team,” continued Szmodics.

“As I’ve said before, this club is the best for bringing out youngsters.

“When we play against other teams, we see their youngsters are only sitting on the bench, perhaps getting a few minutes at the end.

“But we get thrown in at the deep end, to see if we can handle it, and I think the likes of me and Tom (Lapslie) can.”

Fellow 19-year-old Lapslie made his League debut in last weekend’s 2-0 home win over Leyton Orient, a result which lifted the fourth-from-bottom U’s to within one place and two points of safety.

“It’s good to have Tom Lapslie in there with me. He’s the same age as me, so I have a connection with him,” explained Szmodics.

“I know where he is and he knows where I am, we work well together. We buzz off each other.”

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