Jamie's derby vision

REST assured - Jamie Guy will be armed with a spare set of contact lenses when he turns up for tomorrow's eagerly-awaited Essex derby!

Carl Marston

REST assured - Jamie Guy will be armed with a spare set of contact lenses when he turns up for tomorrow's eagerly-awaited Essex derby!

Colchester United front-runner Guy is enjoying a new lease of life under manager Paul Lambert, following his loan stint at Oxford during the first half of the campaign.

The 21-year-old was finally handed only his second league start, in a U's shirt, for last weekend's 2-0 defeat at Walsall. But his lively appearance was cut short by a lost contact lense, which forced his withdrawal at half-time.

Guy did not have a spare set of contact lenses with him at the Bescot Stadium, but there will be no repeat when Essex rivals Southend visit the Weston Homes Community Stadium tomorrow afternoon.

“I've learnt my lesson over that one!” insisted Guy before yesterday's training session.

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“I'll be bringing along a spare set for this weekend. I suppose it was a bit careless of me, but I had never lost one in a game before.

“I lost the lense after about 20 minutes, after jumping up for a header. I think it was an elbow in the eye that dislodged it.

“I felt that I had started well and was really getting into the game. In fact, I felt confident of scoring a goal, so it was very frustrating,” added Guy, who could not continue after half-time due to blurred vision.

Guy began this season as the U's fifth-choice striker, behind Steven Gillespie, Clive Platt, Scott Vernon and Sunday Akanni-Wasiu, which prompted his loan switch to Oxford.

But he is now very much in the U's shake-up. Club record signing Gillespie remains sidelined with a hamstring injury, while Wasiu has just returned from a loan spell at Luton Town, so Guy looks sure to feature against Southend, perhaps again from the start.

“I enjoyed my time at Oxford United. I was able to get myself match-fit, which was obviously my main priority,” continued Guy, who scored two goals in 18 league starts for Oxford.

“The standard is obviously not as high in the Blue Square Premier, but Oxford are a big club and they shouldn't be where they are, especially at a new stadium.

“I feel a lot better now, and I'm glad to be given this latest chance by the manager (Lambert). When I returned from Oxford, he told me that the slate was wiped clean, so I could start again.

“When the team got promoted (in 2006), I was only a 19-year-old and had only just broken into the team that season.

“It was a big jump up from League One to the Championship for someone like me, at the start of my career. I scored a few goals (three as a substitute) in that first season, but I was injured a lot last season, which held me back.

“I've learnt from playing and training alongside several good strikers over these last few seasons, like Jamie Cureton (now Norwich) and Chris Iwelumo (now Wolves), and of course Teddy Sheringham as well.

“Teddy was great. He was always giving me advice and encouraging me. He made the game look so easy.

“But I've found it frustrating not to get many starts. I've been a substitute so often, which can be hard. But I've still got another year left on my contract, so all I can do is work hard and keep in shape,” concluded Guy

Remarkably, former youth teamer Guy, who joined the professional ranks four years ago, has actually made 51 league appearances for the U's.

However, 49 of these have been as a substitute. He made his first League start in the 3-1 defeat at Sunderland on November 18, 2006, but then had to wait more than two years for his second at Walsall last weekend.

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