‘It was the best feeling ever’ – Colchester United midfielder Alex Gilbey

U's midfielder Alex Gilbey

U's midfielder Alex Gilbey - Credit: Richard Blaxall/Focus Images Ltd

Alex Gilbey has only ever known struggles against relegation since he graduated from the first team three years ago.

But now Colchester United’s 20-year-old midfielder is relishing the good times, and hoping that the Essex club can stay in the top half of the table.

Despite last Saturday’s blip at Shrewsbury Town, when the U’s blew a 2-0 half-time lead to lose 4-2, the team have enjoyed their best start to a campaign for many years.

Previous to the defeat at New Meadow, the U’s had won four league games on the trot and been unbeaten in six league fixtures.

Gilbey believes that the U’s can bounce straight back, at Wigan Athletic this afternoon, while predicting that there are some exciting times ahead for the rest of the season.

“When we had those four wins on the spin, it was a new thing for me,” admitted Gilbey.

“I hadn’t really seen that sort of thing, usually we are very up-and-down.

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“It was the best feeling ever, and now I just want to come back into the team and help us to win some more games.

“Us winning those four games shows how open this league is, so who knows what will happen this season?

“We want to keep up there. Everyone was lifted, especially after the second win (against then-leaders Gillingham), in terms of our confidence and morale, in training and on match-day.

“I think we could be right up there. I think we can compete and do well against the top teams, as we showed against Gillingham and at Sheffield United.

“For the last there seasons, we’ve always struggled, so it was nice to look at the table and see the club in the top 10.

“That’s where I want to be and that’s where the club wants to be. That’s the aim.”

Academy product Gilbey could well start his first game for more than a month today, not least because fellow midfielder, former Ipswich Town man Owen Garvan is struggling with injury.

Gilbey’s last start was the 3-3 draw at Chesterfield, on September 12. He sat out the next game, a 3-2 win at Sheffield United, because of injury, and has been on the substitutes’ bench ever since.

“Wigan are a massive club, and they shouldn’t really be in this league, so obviously we go into this game feeling very excited,” said Gilbey

“We will be looking to bounce back from last weekend, which wasn’t our best performance even though we were 2-0 up.

“Our second-half performance was obviously not good enough, so we are out to prove people wrong for this weekend.

“I think we got a bit complacent, although I can’t say too much because obviously I was on the bench.”

Despite his still tender years – he signed his first professional contract in February, 2012, while a first year scholar – Gilbey has already rattled up an impressive 90 senior appearances for the U’s, in all competitions, 83 of them in the league.

Having also played eight games for Newport County, during a loan spell in 2013, that means today is set to be his 99th career appearance.

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