Hamilton set to make his debut

COLCHESTER United boss Aidy Boothroyd is considering giving teenage defender Bradley Hamilton his first taste of first team football against Leyton Orient today.

The 17-year-old first year academy player – who can play at right-back or centre-half – was called up to the first team squad for the first time last weekend when the U’s travelled to Huddersfield.

Boothroyd had signalled to the teenager to get ready as the game entered the last minute, however, with no suitable moment to make the substitution, Hamilton was left standing with his training top off until the final whistle as Huddersfield sealed a dramatic 2-1 victory with the very last kick off the game.

“I like Bradley – I think he’s got a really good future,” said the U’s boss. “Depending on how things go, we’ll see if we can get him some time on the pitch on Saturday.”

London-born Hamilton first joined Colchester at Under-13 level after a PE teacher at his Canvey Island school put him forward for trials.

“I was disappointed not to get on against Huddersfield, but it was a really decent experience,” said Hamilton, who still has another year at academy level before the club have to make a decision on his future.

“I’d love to sign a senior contract with the club and the promising thing is that the gaffer has shown he’ll give young players a chance.”

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Hamilton becomes the third youth team player to be given first team experience this season.

A left-back or centre-half, Tom Bender became the second youngest player ever to represent Colchester last September when he was brought off the bench against Hartlepool aged just 16 years and 243 days. He later signed a senior contract on his 17th birthday back in January and, while he hasn’t featured for the first team since, Bender has often appeared on the bench.

Meanwhile, 17-year-old striker Craig Arnott was rewarded with a first team call-up and squad number in February after scoring a number of goals at youth and reserve team level. Arnott featured on the bench but didn’t get on as Colchester lost 2-1 at Carlisle.

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