Coyne upset at bad luck

COLCHESTER United's club captain, Chris Coyne, believes that he must have walked under a ladder to have suffered such bad luck this season.

Carl Marston

Colchester soccer main preview

By Carl Marston

COLCHESTER United's club captain, Chris Coyne, believes that he must have walked under a ladder to have suffered such bad luck this season.

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Coyne has endured a stop-start campaign, punctuated by niggling injuries and regular sorties away with the Australian national team.

But now the ex-Luton Town stalwart is earmarking a strong end to the season, beginning with a rare start at Oldham Athletic this afternoon.

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In fact, today's tough test at Boundary Park promises to be Coyne's first start of 2009, following his last full outing at Brighton on Boxing Day.

Fellow centre-half Paul Reid suffered a knee injury during Tuesday night's 2-2 draw at Huddersfield, so Coyne will step it to partner Pat Baldwin in the heart of defence.

“I've been waiting for this chance for ages,” admitted Coyne.

“Sometimes I feel like I must have walked under a ladder, or broken a mirror!

“I've been so unlucky with injuries this season, and maybe that's been down to not having a proper pre-season last summer.

“Usually, you get four or five weeks off, but I was in Dubai with the Australian team, training for a few weeks in the heat. My body didn't have a chance to shut down, because we also had three or four World Cup qualifiers in the off-season.

“That's perhaps why I have tended to pick up injuries every six to eight weeks or so.

“It's been frustrating because I have had such a bad run of injuries. I wish Paul Reid all the best, because it's not nice when you get an injury, especially when you have been playing as well as Paul has been.

“It's really been two months since I've played. But now I'm looking forward to playing week in, week out, again,” added Coyne.

Brisbane-born Coyne was a regular during the second half of last season, following his �350,000 move from Luton in January, 2008. A highlight was scoring with an acrobatic over-head kick in an exciting 4-3 defeat at West Brom at the end of March.

He was all set for a big season in 2008-09, but to date he has only started 13 games. Knee and ankle problems have been amongst those injuries to plague him, while he has also been away for weeks at a time as part of the Socceroos squad.

The injury at Brighton on Boxing Day, in the 2-1 win, was a particular setback, because it ended a run of seven appearances on the trot.

Coyne explained: “I was unlucky to pick up the knee injury over the Christmas period, because that meant I couldn't see the specialists for a while.

“The surgeon who operated on my knee was away with his family on holiday, spending his hard-earned money, and so I had to wait two-and-a-half-weeks to get it seen to.

“It was annoying, because it was only a minor injury with the knee flaring up. It shouldn't have taken so long to get fit again. It was ridiculous really. It should have been sorted out a lot quicker.”

Coyne feared that his chances of ever playing for his beloved Australia were dead and buried, until he unexpectedly enjoyed a call-up last summer at the age of 29.

But whereas playing for the Socceroos has been a dream come true, it has not helped the cause of Colchester United. Coyne knows this only to well.

He continued: “It's very important to me that I'm fit and ready to play for my club, but on the other hand, I also enjoy playing for my country. I've had to wait for so long to get this honour that I don't want to just give it up.

“The recent trip to Japan was frustrating, because I went all that way only to not play. I was actually close to starting in that game, but I took a knock on the ankle in training, so it was bad luck that I wasn't involved.

“The gaffer (Paul Lambert) has every right to voice his concerns about me going away to play for my country. I have been in to speak to him about it.

“I know that playing for Colchester United is my bread-and-butter, but it's also been beneficial to go away with the Australian squad, because they have so many high-calibre players who play not just in this country, but in Europe as well,” said Coyne.

The next World Cup qualifier featuring Australia is on April 1, against Uzbekistan, so Coyne will miss the U's trip to Millwall the night before, if he is selected for the national squad.

He certainly hasn't given up hope of the play-offs, even though United are eight points adrift of the top six with just 13 games remaining.

“The play-offs can still be done. If we hadn't had such a ridiculous start to the season, then we would have been there or thereabouts by now,” insisted Coyne.

“We have had to change the goal-posts. We were looking at automatic promotion at the start of the season, but eight more wins and we could still get in the play-offs. That's four home wins and four away. We have certainly not given up.

“The Championship is where we should be playing our football,” concluded Coyne.

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