Ian Henderson so happy he did not leave the U’s
IAN Henderson never even considered a loan move away from Colchester United, even though the chance arose for him to embrace a fresh challenge.
Relegated to the substitutes’ bench in recent weeks, following the appointment of new manager Joe Dunne and the arrival of three new loan players, Henderson decided to knuckle down and fight for his place.
And the 27-year-old’s patience was richly rewarded, at Leyton Orient on Tuesday evening, as he celebrated his first start in six league games with the crunch second goal in a 2-0 win.
It was Henderson’s first goal of the season, and he is now hoping to retain his place in the starting line-up at Shrewsbury Town this afternoon.
“At one point there was a chance to go out on loan, but personally I said that I didn’t want to go,” explained Henderson.
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“I wanted to stay and fight for my place.
“I am a very patient man. The new manager (Dunne) came to me and said that it would take time for me to get back into the team.
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“So what I did was to go away and have a look at myself, and see what I could benefit from, by doing extra work and looking at the dietary side of things.
“I’ve changed a massive amount in a very short space of time, to hopefully benefit myself,” added Henderson.
A regular in previous boss John Ward’s starting line-up, Henderson dropped down the pecking order under Dunne, following the recruitment of Arsenal loanees Sanchez Watt and Craig Eastmond, and striker Jabo Ibehre on loan from MK Dons.
The dazzling performances of Watt, in particular, operating in Henderson’s main position down the wing, kept the door firmly closed in terms of any recall.
But when Watt picked up a knee injury during last weekend’s 2-0 home win over Carlisle, it was Henderson who got the nod, ahead of Freddie Sears, for the vacant winger’s berth at Brisbane Road.
The ex-Norwich attacker responded with a 51st minute goal, to confirm that he had indeed made the right decision to stay with the U’s.
However, Henderson admitted that he knew very little about that goal.
“Scoring the goal was a bit of a blur, to be honest,” confessed Henderson.
“I went in for a challenge on the keeper (Ryan Allsop), but I thought I had no right to win the ball. However, it deflected back in off my head.
“I’ve seen it back on the video with Mark (Kinsella) and the gaffer. We have done a lot of shooting work, and getting into positions where if someone else has a shot, you are going to be the quickest to react.
“If you see on the video, I’m in a sprinter’s starting position, ready to anticipate.”
Watt could well return to the side at Shrewsbury – he has been back in training for the last couple of days – but skipper Anthony Wordsworth’s absence due to a one-match suspension could also ensure that Henderson retains his place.
“It was unfortunate for Sanchez (Watt) that he got injured, and the chance arose for myself,” continued Henderson.
“The gaffer had dangled the carrot at Northampton (Johnstone’s Paint Trophy), and I thought I had a good game myself there. I want to play every week, but it’s up to the manager whether he feels it is right for me to play in each game.”