David Wright hails Colchester United’s miserly defence
Colchester United’s miserly defence has been a prime reason for keeping them clear of the relegation mire this season.
And while the U’s back four and keeper Sam Walker deserve huge credit for achieving such a good defensive record, lynchpin midfielder David Wright has also played a key role.
The U’s are currently squatting in mid-table in League One, a healthy four points clear of the relegation zone with games in hand over the majority of their rivals.
And that is due, in a large part, to a very conservative 36 goals conceded in 28 games, the seventh-best defensive record in the division.
The U’s kept their eighth clean-sheet in 28 league outings, with a battling 0-0 draw at a windswept Swindon last Friday evening.
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Once again, former Ipswich Town 33-year-old Wright caught the eye with his no-nonsense display in front of the back four.
“These clean sheets are a platform to build on,” explained Wright.
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“I think it all started last year, when we were fighting relegation.
“That’s something we know we have got, and the boys deserve great credit for getting another clean-sheet (at Swindon).
“If you look where we are in the league, our goal difference (minus one) is excellent compared to the teams around us.
“And we’ve definitely got the boys up top to cause teams problems.”
Last season, Dunne’s men had the fifth-worst defensive record in the division, and consequently only avoided relegation on the last day of the campaign.
In fact, it required two clean sheets in their final two games, a goalless home draw against Shrewsbury and a 2-0 win at Carlisle, to keep the U’s in League One.
Wright has certainly proved to be an inspired signing by Dunne, and has become one of the most important cogs in the team.
The triple summer signing of Sanchez Watt, Craig Eastmond and Jabo Ibehre were all high profile, and last month’s capture of keeper Sam Walker from Chelsea was a terrific coup.
But Wright’s arrival from Crystal Palace, on a free transfer just over a year ago, has proved to be just as effective.
Wright’s presence, in front of centre-halves Magnus Okuonghae and Tom Eastman, has given fellow midfielders Eastmond and Marcus Bean more freedom to get forward.
It is a good blend, and one which should keep the U’s in the comfort zone of mid-table for the rest of the season.
Manager Dunne enthused: “Experience is vital in teams in our position at the moment.
“We like to attack with speed and flair but, within every team, there has to be someone who points, clicks, directs and holds, and David does that for us.
“You’ve seen it at higher levels, and that kind of experience is important to the team.
“Overall, the balance of the team has been very good, and that’s going to be important over the next few manic months.”
The U’s return to action with a home match against promotion-chasing Preston on Saturday, before then preparing themselves for a run of Saturday/Tuesday/Saturday weeks.
Dunne will be hoping that Jabo Ibehre shakes off an illness to return to the squad on Saturday. Ibehre was a late call-off for the Swindon trip.