‘It’s been a very difficult time for me’ – admits Briggs on his Colchester United return

Matt Briggs lets fly with a shot that Blackpool keeper Sam Slocombe superbly saved, only for the U's

Matt Briggs lets fly with a shot that Blackpool keeper Sam Slocombe superbly saved, only for the U's to score via Kurtis Guthrie from the ensuing corner. Photo by Richard Blaxall - Credit: Richard Blaxall / Colchester Uni

Matt Briggs’ long-awaited return to the Colchester United first-team was one of the highlight’s of Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Blackpool.

Left wing-back Brennan Dickenson had been in dazzling form in past weeks, in addition to boosting his goal-tally to seven, but he picked up an in injury in training on Thursday which caused him to miss the trip to the Lancashire coast.

Dickenson is likely to be back in contention next weekend, for the home match against Barnet, but Briggs will be a difficult man to dislodge after impressing in his first appearance of the season.

The ex-Millwall defender has had a torrid last year, with various hip and back injuries, in addition to personal issues with the premature birth of his son. But the 25-year-old hit the ground running at Bloomfield Road.

“I’m tired, but glad to be back. It’s a big relief,” admitted Briggs.

“It’s been a very difficult time for me, and it’s been very frustrating.

“Obviously I had a hard time with the birth of my son, he was premature, and then getting this injury on top of that made it a very hard rollercoaster for me,

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“But I’ve worked hard, and I have the support of my family behind me, and I’m glad to be back.

“Today was a real battle. The pitch was not the greatest, and the lads had had two weeks off from the previous game, so you could probably tell that.

“But we dug in, clawed it back after going a goal down, but we hung on in there to get the draw.

“It was unfortunate for Sean (Murray) to get sent off and for Tom (Eastman) to get injured.

“But we stayed strong. We had a game-plan and stuck to it, despite finishing with just nine men on the pitch,” added Briggs.

U’s debutant Murray was sent off for his injury-time challenge on Jim McAlister, which resulted in the Blackpool right wing-back suffering a fractured tibia in his right leg.

Manager John McGreal said: “We’ve looked at it (the challenge). It’s a shame because Sean was trying to impress, and I thought he made a difference when he came on. “He was running with the ball and Briggsy has been trying to give him a little bit of an over-lap. The ball took a little bobble and ran away from him and the lad has stopped himself in trying to tackle him,.”

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