Dunne wants more from Freddie

Freddie Ladapo

Freddie Ladapo - Credit: Andrew Partridge

Colchester United, boss, Joe Dunne, is looking for more from his young back-up striker, Freddie Ladapo.

Academy product Ladapo was an unused substitute during Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Bristol City, having recently returned from a loan spell at Woking.

The 20-year-old has so far made just five senior appearances for the U’s, all of them as a substitute – the most recent as an 80th minute replacement for goalscorer Freddie Sears in the last home match, a 1-1 draw against Crawley.

Ladapo is currently fourth in the pecking order of strikers, behind Sears, Jabo Ibehre and Clinton Morrison.

But Dunne wants his young Romford-born front-runner, who has potential pace and power, to make quicker progress over the coming months.

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“I’d like to see Freddie (Ladapo) develop a little quicker,” insisted Dunne.

“He’s scoring goals at under-21 level, but it’s all about transferring that level to our (League One) level.

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“It’s easy for me to say that, because he hasn’t really played enough games at our level, so I’m probably being a little unfair to him.

“But overall, there’s still so much he can add to his game. If he did, then he’d be even better,” added Dunne.

Ladapo made his senior debut on Boxing Day of last year, as a 68th minute substitute in a 3-1 home defeat to Brentford. He followed that up with substitute outings away at Hartlepool, Coventry and Bury during the remainder of the season.

Dunne rewarded him with a new one-year deal over the summer, and he was sent out to Woking, as cover for their suspended striker Giuseepe Sol, from mid-August.

Ladapo did get four games under his belt in the Skrill Conference with Woking, although only his debut was from the start – he was replaced early in the second half of a 2-0 win at Chester.

“We sent Freddie out on loan, in the Skrill Premier, but it didn’t quite work out at Woking,” explained Dunne.

“They wanted to go for someone with more experience, so he returned to us.

“Freddie’s an athletic striker who, when he puts his mind to it, can really do things.

“He’s got a year left with us, and I just think there is a player in there.

“Some players develop later. He might need a little bit longer to break into the first team. He gives us an option when we haven’t got many attackers,” added Dunne.

The U’s entertain League One promotion favourites Wolves this Saturday, and Ladapo could again be amongst the substitutes, due in part to the club’s long list of injuries.

Dunne was without 11 players for last weekend’s test at Ashton Gate, and the Dubliner admits that he is not holding his breath about many, or any of them, returning for the visit of Wolves.

The likes of Gavin Massey (hamstring), Sanchez Watt (quad), Josh Thompson (ankle), Tom Eastman (ankle) and Drey Wright (knee) are all on the treatment table.

“I don’t know how far I am away from having some of my injured players back,” admitted Dunne.

“There are no time limits. There’s no midweek game this week, so they can enjoy a rest.”

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