Defence a priority this summer - Duguid
COLCHESTER United skipper, Karl Duguid, is in no doubt as to what the U's will be working on this summer.The U's finished the recent season at the foot of the Championship, eight points behind second-from-bottom Scunthorpe following Sunday's 3-3 draw at Glanford Park.
COLCHESTER United skipper, Karl Duguid, is in no doubt as to what the U's will be working on this summer.
The U's finished the recent season at the foot of the Championship, eight points behind second-from-bottom Scunthorpe following Sunday's 3-3 draw at Glanford Park. They were also 15 points adrift of safety.
Ironically, Geraint Williams' men scored a healthy 62 goals from their 46 league games, which was more than any other team in the lower half of the table.
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But it was at the other end of the pitch where the U's experienced their problems, with a whopping 86 goals conceded, more than any other club in the top four divisions (Derby have let in 85 goals with one game still remaining).
“We need to regroup as a team over the summer, and concentrate on the defensive side of our game for next season,” insisted Duguid.
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“But there was no point in us just sitting back to defend during the last few matches, because we haven't done that all season. There was no point in starting it at Scunthorpe.
“We wanted to finish on a high, and put in a decent performance, which I think we did. But it was another two points dropped, and the game just summed up our whole season.
“Attacking-wise, we scored three good goals. But we have conceded too many goals all season, and we let in three more sloppy goals on the final day,” added Duguid.
First teamers Kevin Watson and Luke Guttridge were released in the build up to the weekend, as were first year professionals Tom Webb and Tom Devaux. None of their contracts will be renewed.
And while the vast majority of the squad are signed up for next season, there were still a few players with points to prove - including winger Kevin McLeod and Leeds loanee defender Matt Heath.
Ex-Everton trainee McLeod responded with two goals and a man-of-the-match display against Scunthorpe, an impressive return for a player who had not started a first team game since the 4-1 defeat at Plymouth on March 4.
“Macca (McLeod) did well. Things had not been going for him, and he had not been playing for a few games,” explained Duguid.
“But he had been playing well for the reserves. It's up to him to produce these sort of performances consistently.
“People were playing for their futures out there, and for their pride. They wanted to show the manager what they could do, and Macca was one of them. He's a good lad, and he deserved this performance.
“Having said that, it's a shame that Kevin (Watson) has been released. He played nearly every game for us in his first three years, but this season has not been great for him, due to the injuries to his Achilles tendon and his calf.
“Jacko (Johnnie Jackson) has also done well in the middle of the park, whereas last season he was behind Kevin in this position.
“Kevin played a massive part in our promotion, and again in our first season in the Championship. I'm sure he'll get another club,” continued Duguid.