‘It will be hard to get back in the team’ – Colchester United’s Sean Murray
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Sean Murray was bang in form, when he damaged his knee in October, but he knows that it won’t be easy for him to break straight back into the Colchester United starting XI.
Murray’s last outing was in the goalless draw at Coventry City, on October 21, after which the 24-year-old underwent an operation to cure a knee problem that had been plaguing him for several weeks.
Now the U’s midfielder is back in training, and is bang on schedule to return to the first-team squad, perhaps with a place on the substitutes’ bench at home to Exeter City tomorrow.
Certainly, Murray would hope to be back in competitive action in time to face his old club Swindon Town, next Friday evening.
“I’ve had my first week back in training, and it’s been going well,” enthused Murray following yesterday morning’s session at Florence Park, Tiptree.
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Murray continued: “I trained on Monday and Tuesday, and had no reaction to the injury, so I’m now in a position to push on and see what happens when I step it up.
“I run a lot, so my general fitness is good anyway. That’s not too much of a problem, so it’s good news for me at the moment, and hopefully good news for the club as well.
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“I was in good form before the injury, so it’s been a frustrating time for me.
“I had felt it (the knee) at the end of matches, but the pain had then gone away and I was basically able to get through matches.
“But that wasn’t the case after the Coventry game, so the decision was made to have a scan, and then go in for surgery.
“It was predicted that the recovery time would be from four to six weeks, so full marks to (physio) Tony (Flynn) and his team for getting me back after about five weeks,” added Murray.
A graduate of Watford’s Academy, Murray went on to make 85 first-team appearances for the Hornets before his switch to Swindon Town in 2016, and then eventual move to Colchester on transfer deadline day (January 31, 2017).
Murray’s U’s debut was memorable, for all the wrong reasons. He was sent off, after appearing as a substitute, during the 1-1 draw at Blackpool on February 4, seeing red for a bad foul on Seasiders’ Jim McAlister.
But he had since established himself in the U’s engine room, initially as a defensively-minded midfielder, but also as an attacking midfielder during the course of this season, until his recent injury blow.
“Even though I was playing well, before I got injured, I know that it will definitely be hard for me to get back into the team,” explained Murray.
“In fact, it’s been quite good watching the lads play so well, over the last few weeks. They have played well, every week, and even the last game (2-1 defeat at Notts County) they were quite pleased with the performance and took many positives from it.
“There’s a real buzz about the place, and on the training ground. Everyone is bouncing, which wasn’t always the case before.
“Although I can play in several positions, across the midfield, it’s very competitive in there.
“Sammie (Szmodics) has come back and done brilliantly in the No. 10 role (seven goals in 17 appearances), and Tom (Lapslie) has done well to win his place back in the team.”
Murray is full of confidence for the rest of this season.
“We’ve got a great chance to get some good results against two teams who are up there,” insisted Murray.
“We will be targeting six points from those two matches.”
Exeter City, tomorrow’s visitors to the Weston Homes Community Stadium, are flying high in fourth spot in League Two.
While the U’s enjoyed a free weekend, the Grecians were involved in a titanic FA Cup first round tie which ended in a thrilling 3-3 away draw at Forest Green Rovers. City were leading 2-1 in that game, going into the 88th minute, but then shipped two goals before scrambling a 94th minute equaliser through Jayden Stockley to force a replay.
Paul Tisdale’s men are currently one point and one place adrift of the play-off zone, and seven points clear of 11th-placed Colchester.
Looking further ahead, the U’s have an equally tough away trip to Swindon next Friday evening, Murray’s old club.
“Of course I’d love to play in that one,” insisted Murray.
“This weekend might come a bit too soon for me, but I’ll have another week of training behind me by then.
“There have been a lot of changes at Swindon, since I was last there, but it’s a game I have been looking forward to.”