Colchester United’s back-up problem

Tosin Olufemi, out for the rest of the year with a ruptured Achilles

Tosin Olufemi, out for the rest of the year with a ruptured Achilles - Credit: Archant

Colchester United have precious little back-up in the full-back department, following Tosin Olufemi’s unfortunate injury last week.

Olufemi ruptured his Achilles tendon during the first quarter of the U’s final pre-season game of the summer, a 2-0 defeat at Bishop’s Stortford last Wednesday.

The 20-year-old has already undergone an operation, but now faces a lengthy spell on the sidelines – he will not be back in action until next year.

Olufemi was unlikely to be in the U’s starting line-up for the beginning of this season – summer signings Sean Clohessy and Ben Gordon are on course to fill the right-back and left-back roles – but manager Joe Dunne now has very little in the way of back-up.

Last season’s regular full-backs, Brian Wilson and Ryan Dickson, moved to Oldham Athletic and Crawley respectively after the end of last season, and although Clohessy and Gordon have filled the void left by this duo, another injury or two would leave Dunne with a full-back crisis.

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Olufemi was the natural deputy at right-back. David Wright, who spent most of his career as a right-back before moving into midfield for his previous club Crystal Palace, and now the U’s, would be another option, although the ex-Ipswich Town man is currently nursing a sore Achilles.

Academy product Michael O’Donoghue is the only real back-up to Gordon at left-back.

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Olufemi, therefore, will be missed, especially from the substitutes’ bench. He is expected to be out of action for about six months.

Physio Tony Flynn revealed the extent of Olufemi’s injury, and the length of his recovery.

“Tosin is already back home recovering (after his operation), but it will be lengthy lay-off, about six months usually,” explained Flynn.

“The plaster cast will be on for a couple of weeks. Then Tosin will be in an air-cast boot for about 10 weeks, before we can really start on his rehab.”

Manager Dunne admitted: “It’s a horrible thing to happy to any player, but it has brought home that football can be cruel at sometimes. But you have to be strong mentally. I’m positive that Tosin is mentally strong, and that he’ll make a full recovery.”

Hackney-born Olufemi, who graduated from the U’s Academy, has so far made 14 league appearances for the first team, in a variety of roles, including right-back, left-back and right wing.

The U’s begin their League One campaign with a home match against Oldham next Saturday.

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