‘I want to go back up the league’ – insists Colchester United midfielder Owen Garvan

Owen Garvan in the thick of the action at Cheltenham, during his first appearance of the season whic

Owen Garvan in the thick of the action at Cheltenham, during his first appearance of the season which yielded a 3-0 away win

It was no fluke that the end of Colchester United’s winless run should coincide with the long-awaited return of Owen Garvan.

Experienced midfielder Garvan, after nearly four months on the sidelines, was a surprise inclusion in the U’s starting line-up at Cheltenham Town on Tuesday night.

The 28-year-old had only had one brief outing for the reserves, following his long struggle to get back from a leg injury incurred during a pre-season fixture at Southend.

Garvan did not disappoint, playing a key role in a comfortable 3-0 win at Whaddon Road, to propel John McGreal’s men out of the relegation zone.

It was a landmark game for Garvan, in more ways than one, because it was his first-ever game in League Two, therefore completing the full set of playing in the top four divisions in England.

The Dubliner began his career at Ipswich Town, in the Championship, before going on to play for Crystal Palace at the same level, in addition to a couple of appearances in the Premier League (2013), against Tottenham and at Stoke.

Garvan eventually signed for the U’s in the summer of 2015, playing 32 games in League One.

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His first experience of third tier football ended in the disappointment of relegation, but he is looking at this season’s fourth tier as a chance to relaunch his career.

“I’m still only 28, and I want to progress my career, hopefully achieving those objectives by winning promotion with Colchester,” explained Garvan, ahead of today’s home match against Crewe.

“I’ve played in all four divisions now, but I want to go back up the league, especially as I was playing in the Premier League only a few years ago.

“Hopefully, my career can be a rollercoaster, with me going back up the league, and it certainly felt great to be back on Tuesday night.

“I hadn’t expected to play the full 90 minutes, but I did, and in the end we kept a clean-sheet and won, so it was job done really.

“I was not initially expecting to be involved. I thought I’d be on the bench at best, so it was a surprise for me to get straight back into the team.

“If I’m being honest, I was a little bit off the pace in the game (at Cheltenham), but hopefully I’ll be able to pick up the pace over the next couple of games.

“My legs are feeling sore at the moment, but that’s always the case on the second day of recovery after a match. I think I’ll be fine for Saturday, and I should be a lot sharper as well.”

Garvan, who rattled up 174 senior appearances for Ipswich, between 2005 and 2010, was also surprised by the style of play on show at Cheltenham, in his first taste of League Two action.

The Robins, struggling at the wrong end of the table with the U’s, are a very direct, physical side.

Garvan confirmed: “Tuesday night’s game was a real eye-opener for me. It was a real battle!

“We had to battle for most of the game, whereas I usually like to play in a certain way, by getting on the ball. It wasn’t my normal style of game, but I thought we managed to adjust well.

“There wasn’t much quality in the game, with the exception of the good goals by Craig (Slater) and Brennan (Dickenson), but we just need to get some results on the board by any means. We tended to hit the channels and aim for the runners.

“It’s been hard being out injured, and watching the team struggle to get the results. It’s tough when things are going against you, but we’re feeling positive after Tuesday’s win,” added Garvan, who is set to play his first home game of the season this afternoon.

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