“I forgot my towel!” – Colchester United winger Gavin Massey

Gavin Massey scores Colchester United's opening goal at the second attempt during the 63 win at Gosp

Gavin Massey scores Colchester United's opening goal at the second attempt during the 63 win at Gosport last season

Gavin Massey is relishing a return to non-league Wealdstone this afternoon, a club where he spent a tough but ultimately fruitful month on loan.

Colchester United winger Massey, who is fighting fit again after a month on the sidelines, is poised to make the match-day squad for this eagerly-anticipated FA Cup first round tie in North-West London.

The 23-year-old spent four weeks on loan with the Stones, from nearby Watford in 2011, as a raw teenager. It is an experience that has stood him in good stead for a career in the professional game.

Obviously there will be no room for sentiment today, but Massey recognises the role that Wealdstone played in his football upbringing.

“I had a little spell there (at Wealdstone), and it toughened me up. It was an eye-opener,” explained Massey, after yesterday’s training session at Florence Park, Tiptree.

“At the end of the day, if you put the work in, then you won’t be playing at that level of football. But if you don’t, then you might do.

“Obviously we respect the players who play at that sort of level. They obviously enjoy it, and they love the game. But if you don’t want to be at that level, then you’ve got to put the work in.

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“I’ve had my break, playing League football, and it helped me out massively, which I do appreciate.

“When I was young, I got a professional contract, but I wasn’t in-and-around the first team, so I had to go out and earn the right to play.

“Things might have changed now. Youngsters might get better facilities, and they are probably better footballers, so they probably get their chance of first-team football.

“It was different for me, although I still consider myself to be young.

“Going out on loan to Wealdstone, from Watford, was not unusual. They did that to players who they thought might have a chance in the game.

“Obviously Marv (Marvin Sordell) went there, as did Britt Assombalonga, who did really well for Wealdstone.

“It all meant that there was no messing around, when you did get your first-team chance at Watford.

“Three points for non-league players are vital, because they need to earn that little bit of money to put food on the table.

“Now as a professional, you’ve got to put food on your table as well for your family,” added Massey.

Ex-Watford Academy product Massey, who should be on the bench today, recalls his first match for the Stones with some trepidation.

“I remember my first game for Wealdstone, because I forgot my towel!” revealed Massey.

“You had to bring your own kit and everything, so it was a real eye-opener.

“Obviously you don’t really want to be playing at that level, so you have to put in the work to make sure you don’t. But I respect them as a club, and for what they did for me during the short period of time I was there.

“They have helped me to become the player that I am today.”

Massey played six league games for Wealdstone, back in 2011, while his current U’s team-mate, Marvin Sordell, scored two goals in five loan outings with the Stones back in the 2008-09 campaign.

Both will be looking to make an impact tomorrow, Sordell from the start and Massey perhaps as a late substitute.

“It will be good to get back out there on the pitch, after a frustrating month of injuries,” continued Massey.

“Hopefully the gaffer (Tony Humes) will give me a few minutes out there, but we need to put the game to bed in the first half.

“It was a good laugh to be fair, playing for Wealdstone. The pitches were not great and I probably ran through more channels than I do now.

“I think I scored a couple of goals there as well.

“But at least I won’t be needing my towel this time!” joked Massey.

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