“I will keep fighting for this club” – Colchester United’s Alex Gilbey
Alex Gilbey, like the rest of Colchester United’s players, is feeling “gutted” and “exhausted” by the events of the last six months.
But the U’s midfielder has vowed to fight to the very end, as the U’s face up to a near-impossible task to stay in League One.
And if, and when, the U’s are relegated into the fourth tier, Gilbey has still vowed to keep fighting.
The 21-year-old scored in successive games, with his first-half stoppage-time header at Walsall last weekend coming after his cracking strike against Wigan the previous Saturday.
And yet the U’s let two points slip against the Latics, conceding an injury-time equaliser in a 3-3 home draw, before conceding twice in the dying minutes at the Bescot Stadium to drop a further three points in a soul-destroying 2-1 defeat.
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That last result leaves the U’s rock bottom, 10 points adrift of safety and almost certain to be playing in League Two for the first time since 1998, with just nine fixtures remaining.
“I’m gutted and I am exhausted,” admitted Gilbey.
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“But I’m not going to say anything about relegation.
“I am a fighter and even if we get relegated, I will keep fighting for this club and fighting for the badge.
“That’s because of the people at this club – they have given me my career, and I will not stop fighting until the season ends on May 8.”
Gilbey’s contract expires this summer, and it seems likely that he will be leaving his home-town club before next season, having already played more than 100 league games for his beloved U’s.
But he is not thinking that far ahead, and is focusing solely on the U’s and their current position.
“A few things were said in the dressing room, and perhaps things that should have been said six or seven games ago,” continue Gilbey, with reference to post-match discussions at Walsall.
“People have to take it on the chin, and sometimes you have to look at yourself in the mirror, and admit if you’re not good enough.
“I feel like a man at this point now, and I know when I‘ve not been good enough. I’ve gone away and worked at what I need to do, and I think some people need to do that.
“It’s a harsh learning curve, but I can count so many times when I’ve stood here and said that.
“When do you get to the point where you stop learning? We need to start putting it into practise.”
The U’s conceded an 89th-minute equaliser to Tom Bradshaw, and then a 94th-minute winner to Matt Preston, during a dramatic finale to Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at Walsall.
Now Keen’s side must recover for the visit of fourth-bottom Doncaster on Good Friday (kick-off 3pm).
“Looking at the bigger picture, it’s quite ridiculous the number of points we have let slip in the last few minutes of games this season,” said Gilbey.
“It’s time to be harsh now. We need to be winning games, and that was not good enough (at Walsall).
“We have let five points slip in the last two weeks, five points that would have closed the gap massively.
“Doncaster are in-and-around us, and they are their for the taking.”