‘I think we are progressing’ – Colchester United defender Ton Eastman, on eve of Carlisle trip

Tom Eastman celebrates giving the U's a precious two goal lead at Carlisle with this second half hea

Tom Eastman celebrates giving the U's a precious two goal lead at Carlisle with this second half header on the final day of last season. - Credit: Archant

Tom Eastman is still only 22, but he will probably never score a more important goal in his career than his killer second at Carlisle on the final day of last season.

Eastman’s delightful header wrapped up a 2-0 win for the U’s and, more importantly, secured the Essex club’s League One status for another year.

Now, rather than looking nervously over his shoulder at a relegation scrap, Eastman is looking onwards and upwards as the U’s return to the scene of that precious win – at Brunton Park – this afternoon.

“I didn’t want to be a League Two player for this season, definitely not!” insisted Eastman.

“No one in that changing room, on the last game of last season, wanted to end the day being a League Two player.

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“That’s why it was such a big win for the whole club, because we did have a bad season last season.

“We know the quality we have in the squad – we are not a League Two team, we are League One or higher, but those sort of games can make or break a player’s career.

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“If we had lost that day, then a few could be playing in League Two now, scrapping results, not playing good football, so that was a massive game for us.”

Eastman has been a mainstay of the U’s defence this term, and has played a key role in helping to keep four clean-sheets in the last five games.

Last weekend’s resounding 3-0 win over Gillingham lifted Joe Dunne’s men up to 13th in the table, making it 10 points out of 15 in the last five matches.

The U’s are just one point and one place adrift of the top half of the table, and four points off a top 10 berth. It is a gap that Eastman is confident of bridging over the next few weeks.

“I think we are progressing,” insisted Eastman.

“We are doing OK, but we want to be moving higher up the table. We have got to look to push towards the top 10, and towards the play-offs.

“We are looking upwards, and I think we are playing like a team looking upwards.”

Eastman is hoping that keeper Sam Walker, whose loan spell from Chelsea expires after today’s game, will decide to stay with the U’s and sign a permanent contract.

“I don’t know what’s going on with Sam, but it would be great for us if he were to stay at the club,” insisted Eastman.

“He is a big presence in goal, and he gives us a lot of confidence, especially with his shot stopping and dealing with crosses.

“He’s definitely a big feature of the team. It helps to have him behind us. He’s a great keeper,” added the ex-Ipswich defender.

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