Dunne urges young U’s not to lose heart

‘YOUR time will come.’ That is the reassuring message Colchester United assistant manager Joe Dunne has given the club’s younger players today.

Despite trimming back an enormous squad significantly over the summer, U’s boss John Ward still has plenty of strength in depth across the 30 professional players currently at his disposal.

The seven substitutes from last weekend’s 2-1 win over Notts County have made well over 1,000 appearances in the Football League between them for example, while on Tuesday night no fewer than 10 players with first team experience took part in what was effectively a reserve team match in the Essex Senior Cup at Dagenham & Redbridge.

And that’s not even taking into account the fact that established pros such as Steven Gillespie, Simon Hackney and John–Joe O’Toole are currently out of contention through injury.

It means that the club’s emerging generation of talent have found their chances limited over the last few seasons, youngsters Tom Bender, Sam Corcoran and Carl Pentney all recently made available for loan as a consequence.

However, Ward has stressed that any temporary moves away from the club will be with view to improving these players for Colchester United. And his assistant Dunne, who in the past has worked with the club’s youngsters and reserves, says the changing face of the game means their time will come.

“It must be frustrating for the young players looking at our bench and seeing a host of players with over a hundred appearances to their name,” said the 37-year-old Irishman.

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“In the past this has been the sort of club whose bench tended to be made up of young and inexperienced players, but over the past three years we have recruited in an attempt to get back into the Championship and that’s why we now find ourselves with pretty much two full teams of 11.

“Over time that will change though because I think every club up and down the country is having to trim back accordingly at the moment. We saw that in the summer and I think you’ll see clubs assessing their squad sizes once again in January.

“I’m a great believer in developing young talent and I can see it going full circle where we will once again have to rely on the young players coming through.”

– Read full interview, including Dunne’s views on Medy Elito, in today’s EADT.

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