Garcia predicts tough season for U's

RICHARD Garcia predicts a “tough” season ahead for Colchester United, following his move to Hull City on a three-year deal yesterday.But Garcia sincerely hopes that the U's can retain their Championship status for another year, so that he can play against them in the new Community Stadium during 2008-09.

By Carl Marston

RICHARD Garcia predicts a “tough” season ahead for Colchester United, following his move to Hull City on a three-year deal yesterday.

But Garcia sincerely hopes that the U's can retain their Championship status for another year, so that he can play against them in the new Community Stadium during 2008-09.

“It's going to be hard for the gaffer (Geraint Williams) to attract new players to the club,” admitted Garcia last night.


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“He doesn't have the means to bring them in, so it could be a hard season ahead. But I do hope that they find some quality players to stay in the Championship, because I want to visit the new stadium when it's finally built.

“I enjoyed the close-knit feeling at Colchester United. It was a nice comfortable atmosphere, and that brought us a good deal of success. The people are very warm, and there were very happy times for me,” added Garcia.

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However, the Australian has a burning ambition to return to the Premiership, having begun his career at West Ham. Long term, he believes that Hull City have the potential to be a top-flight club.

Garcia could not sign for the Tigers before yesterday, due to a couple of obstacles - his current contract at Colchester did not expire until the end of June, and the embargo preventing Hull from signing any Colchester players, following Phil Parkinson's ill-fated move to the KC Stadium as manager last summer, was not lifted until July 1.

But he is now looking forward to a new era on Humberside, following three productive years in Essex.

“It's a good move for me. Hull are a club going forwards, and I ultimately want to play in the Premiership with them,” continued Garcia.

“It's time for me to move on. I didn't have that much security at Colchester, because I was offered only short-term contracts.

“I first found out that Hull were interested in the middle of the summer, when I was back in Australia. The manager (Phil Brown) called me up and asked me whether I would be interested in coming here. I jumped at the opportunity.

“I'm looking forward to the challenge. We've got a training camp in Italy, and then it's full steam ahead. The indications are that I will be playing on the right side of midfield,” added Garcia.

Perth-born Garcia did operate as an occasional striker at Colchester, following his move from Upton Park on a free transfer in the summer of 2004, but he played the bulk of his 99 first team appearances on the right flank.

The 25-year-old had his share of injuries, but ultimately he proved a key member of the U's successful promotion squad from League One in 2005-06, and was then instrumental in helping United to 10th in the Championship table last term.

“We did so well last season. In fact I was surprised with how well the team adapted to life in the Championship, whereas I think Hull under-achieved,” confessed Garcia.

“The manager and the Board at Hull sound very ambitious, and they are looking to improve the squad. That's why it's a good move for me. I think it's fair to say that Hull have more means to reach the Premiership than Colchester.”

U's supporters will be hoping for a run of good news, between now and the start of the new season, because it's been one setback after another this summer.

Garcia's departure yesterday follows the loss of assistant manager Mick Harford (to QPR), strikers Jamie Cureton (to Norwich) and Chris Iwelumo (to Hull), and loanee left-back Chris Barker (to QPR).

So far, the U's have put in bids for QPR striker Ray Jones and MK Dons target man Clive Platt, as well as being linked with former England international Teddy Sheringham. The arrival of Platt looks the most likely scenario.

Away from team matters, at least building work will soon begin on the U's new Community Stadium, after detailed planning permission was granted last week.

The 10,000 all-seater stadium should be ready for the start of the 2008-09 campaign, which might see Garcia getting his wish of playing at Colchester's new home.

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