‘I still believe I have a big role to play this season’ – Colchester United midfielder Alex Gilbey

Alex Gilbey, right, chases Tranmere's Jake Kirby

Alex Gilbey, right, chases Tranmere's Jake Kirby - Credit: Richard Blaxall

Teenager Alex Gilbey has already played more games than he ever dared to dream of this season, and he is not finished yet.

Talented midfielder Gilbey is fighting again after a hamstring injury, and ready to play his part in guiding Colchester United away from the relegation battle during the last seven weeks of the campaign.

Ex-youth team skipper Gilbey, who signed a new two-and-a-half-year deal at the start of this year, has already chalked up 28 first team appearances in 2013-14.

He came off the bench during the U’s disappointing 2-0 home defeat to Bradford City on Tuesday night, a result that leaves Joe Dunne’s men three points clear of the bottom four, with 12 fixtures remaining, and he is set for more action at Crawley Town this afternoon.

“I’m really looking forward to playing a part during the final games of the season,” enthused Gilbey.

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“I’ve just got back from injury. I’m feeling fit and I’m feeling sharp, so I just want to get back into the team.

“I just had a slight grade one tear in my hamstring, nothing too bad. I was out for 10 days, and got some game-time at Concord Rangers (in the Essex Senior Cup). I only thought that I’d get through half that game, but I ended up playing for 75 minutes.

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“Now I want to push on until the end of the season.

“This has been my first proper full season, and I’ve really enjoyed it. In fact, I never dreamt for one minute that I would play this many games this season.

“I want to keep building on that, have a strong end to the campaign before looking towards pre-season.

“But I still believe I can have a big role to play this season, showing what I showed in my first games for the club,” added Gilbey.

Dagenham-born Gilbey signed his first professional contract back in February, 2012, as a 17-year-old, making his senior debut in an LDV Vans Trophy defeat at Northampton in October of that year.

A league debut followed, in a 2-0 defeat by Oldham before Christmas, and Gilbey was handed his first ever start in a 3-1 loss to Brentford on Boxing Day, 2012.

Now he is very much a regular feature of the U’s first team, and will be pushing the likes of David Wright, Marcus Bean and Craig Eastmond for a start in the engine room.

“I can be difficult to come on as a substitute, to change a game,” continued Gilbey.

“But sometimes I feel that’s the best time to come on, when the team is struggling, because you are hungry and you are trying to make things happen.

“I felt sharp coming on (against Bradford), trying to make an impact.

“I’m hoping for some more minutes this weekend, and then getting back into the starting line-up.”

The U’s have already played four games in March, and there are another five fixtures to go before the end of this month.

In addition to today’s trip to Crawley, the U’s have midweek games against Shrewsbury (at home next Tuesday) and at Wolves, and Saturday matches against Bristol City and at Notts County.

Gilbey admitted: “They are massive games now. We need to pick up points playing teams around us.”

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