Drey Wright eyes up a possible new Colchester United contract
- Credit: Sarah Lucy brown
Drey Wright has every incentive to finally break back into the Colchester United starting line-up, after spending so long in the wilderness.
Injury-ravaged Wright, who has not started a game since the opening day of last season, is finally returning to the sort of form that he showed when he first burst onto the scene, three-and-a-half years ago.
The 20-year-old, who has made eight appearances this season, all from the substitutes’ bench, is looking to catch the eye of manager Kevin Keen to earn himself a new contract.
Wright’s current deal expires this summer, but exciting winger Wright is hoping to be offered a new package.
The indications are that former Academy product Wright will be offered a new contract, and he wants to confirm his return to fitness by helping to boost the U’s dwindling hopes of avoiding relegation during the last two months of the season.
“I know that my contract is up at the end of the season,” explained Wright.
“That has been more of an incentive for me to push on, not having that safety net behind me, where you could relax and think there’s always next season.
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“So there’s more reason for me to push on and try and get back in and around the team. The next two months are important, both for me and the club.”
Wright came on as a 61st minute substitute, for Darren Ambrose, to set up Macauley Bonne with a 69th minute opening goal in Tuesday night’s 1-1 home draw against 10-man Chesterfield.
Ironically, both Wright and Bonne were celebrating their 50th first-team appearances in that game.
“It doesn’t feel to me as though that 50th landmark has come quickly,” revealed Wright.
“It feels very different to that, because I had played quite a lot of games before I got the injuries.
“I’m obviously pleased to have made 50 appearances for the club, but I’d have hoped that it would have come sooner than it has done.
“I’ve played with Macca (Bonne) for many years now. He is a natural goalscorer, so if I am in a position to put the ball into the box, then I will. And nine times out of 10, he will put it in the back of the net. I always know he’s going to be in and around the box.
“However, I think it was a big opportunity missed on Tuesday, with them (Chesterfield) going down to 10 men, and us going 1-0 up.”
Wright, the son of former Ipswich Town and Southampton midfielder Jermaine Wright, made his first-team debut when John Ward was on the U’s hot seat.
He started the U’s first game of the 2012-13 season, a 3-0 defeat at Yeovil in the League Cup, and went on to make his Football League debut as a substitute for veteran front-man Clinton Morrison in a 2-2 draw against Portsmouth on August 21, 2012.
He went on to celebrate his 18th birthday, at the end of that season, by being named the U’s young-player-of-the-year.
But since then, he has been dogged by several long-term knee injuries, the last of which saw him sidelined with cruciate ligament damage
He picked up his first knee injury in the autumn of 2013, which required an operation and kept him out for seven months, before his return in April of 2014.
Unfortunately, Wright then suffered two further recurrences of his knee problems, which have meant that he has not started a game since a 2-2 home draw against Oldham on August 9, 2014.
Now, though, he is pushing for a start again, after making a favourable impression on recent outings as a substitute.
“It’s been good to be back involved in the team, from a personal point of view,” said Wright.
“But obviously results haven’t gone the way we would have liked.
“These last few seasons haven’t been ideal for me, and it’s been a slow process coming back, which we always knew it would – it was always around this time that I would get back to being around the 100% mark.
“It’s taken time, but hopefully that’s all behind me now,” added Wright.
The U’s are away at Bury this afternoon.