Dunne reaches for the cotton wool

Colchester United loanee Matt Taylor, in action against Crawley Town

Colchester United loanee Matt Taylor, in action against Crawley Town - Credit: Archant

Colchester United boss, Joe Dunne, will be wrapping up his players in cotton wool this week, after all the injury setbacks of the last fortnight.

The U’s supremo cannot afford too many more injury call-offs, in the build up to this Saturday’s trip to bottom four club Bristol City.

Already without wingers Sanchez Watt (quad) and Gavin Massey (hamstring), as well as left-back Ryan Dickson (virus) and centre-half Josh Thompson (ankle), Dunne lost three more players just 48 hours before last Saturday’s 1-1 home draw against Crawley Town.

After the versatile Tosin Olufemi had sustained an injury on Thursday, both winger Drey Wright and Tom Eastman suffered injuries during a Friday training session that only lasted 27 minutes!

Wright damaged his knee in the warm-up, while even more crucially, Eastman twisted his ankle while blocking a shot and then falling awkwardly.

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“I just want to keep everyone else fit now,” admitted Dunne.

“We’re going to tailor our training this week. They won’t do much this week, they won’t do much!”

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To bolster his ailing squad, Dunne recruited two loan players on Friday, in the shape of centre-halves Matt Taylor (from Bradford) and Jamie Sendels-White (from QPR), in addition to promoting a number of his under-21 players to the senior set-up.

One of these youngsters, Conor Hubble, made his debut as an 83rd minute substitute, and the Chelmsford-born 18-year-old lost no time in catching his manager’s eye.

Dunne enthused: “Conor made his debut and showed terrific composure. He did exceptionally well. He’s come to us from QPR, and I have to admit that he has surprised me.

“He’s come through pre-season really well. We watched him the other day and he did things that I hadn’t seen before, adding bits to his game.

“I think he had a 100% pass possession rate, when he came on. He may have only made four or five passes, but you can imagine how he must have been feeling, coming on at 1-1 in a game that could have gone either way.

“Conor’s a good lad. He has a good temperament, and what he surely has is good intelligence,” added Dunne.

Attacking midfielder Hubble is certainly one to watch this season.

Meanwhile, Freddie Ladapo scored a brace in Colchester United Under-21s’ 5-2 home defeat at the hands of Crystal Palace, in a friendly last night. Veteran striker Kevin Phillips scored a couple of Palace’s goals.

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