Karl dreams of Trophy success

KARL Duguid has spent the bulk of the last three months on the bench, but he is one of several Colchester United squad players poised for a rare start at MK Dons tonight.

By Carl Marston

KARL Duguid has spent the bulk of the last three months on the bench, but he is one of several Colchester United squad players poised for a rare start at MK Dons tonight.

U's boss Phil Parkinson has had the luxury of naming an unchanged side for the last five games, as his super-confident team have soared into fourth spot in League One.

But attention switches to the LDV Vans Trophy this evening, and a southern area quarter-final tie at the National Hockey Stadium.

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If the U's can rattle up a 10th victory in their last 11 games, then they would be just two rounds and three matches away from a trip to the Millennium Stadium for the final.

Parkinson will be forced into at least one change, because front-runner Jamie Cureton is cup-tied. The Swindon Town loanee played for the Robins in the first round of this competition.

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But there will be other changes as well - the U's boss made eight changes for the LDV Vans Trophy second round win over Northampton.

Keeper Aidan Davison and centre-halves Wayne Brown and Liam Chilvers were both rested for that 3-2 success over the Cobblers, while the likes of Kevin Watson, Chris Iwelumo, Mark Yeates and John White were all on the bench.

“It's really tough for me to get into the team at the moment, but I'd prefer it that way than to just walk into a losing team,” insisted Duguid last night.

“At least I've been involved in most matches, usually coming on as a late substitute. Sometimes, I've come on and got involved straight away, while other times I haven't even touched the ball!

“I'm knocking on the door of the team. Of course I want to play as much as possible, but the lads are going so well at the moment that it's difficult for the gaffer to make changes.

“We have a big squad this year, perhaps the biggest and strongest since I've been at the club,” added Duguid, who is the U's longest-serving player.

The versatile Duguid, who played on the left wing against Northampton in the previous round, has enjoyed considerable success in this competition.

The 27-year-old, who signed professional terms in 1996, was a member of Steve Wignall's side that reached the final of the then-Auto Windscreens Shield in his first season. The U's drew 0-0 with Carlisle United, but lost a penalty shoot-out with Duguid missing one of the spot kicks.

“I know what it's like to enjoy some success in this competition. There was the trip to Wembley, and we also reached the southern area final a couple of seasons ago,” continued Duguid.

“This is an important competition for us. I think that we have one of the strongest squads in the division, and we all want to play.

“Unlike previous seasons, we have managed to get into the top six at Christmas. That must give us a good chance to stay there for the rest of the season. We've already got 37 points from the first half of the campaign,” said Duguid.

The U's are on an unbeaten run of 11 games, and they also have the psychological boost of having beaten tonight's hosts MK Dons 2-0 in the league on Saturday, thanks to goals from Neil Danns and Chris Iwelumo.

Cureton, who has scored seven goals in just eight starts for Colchester, will not be able to play in either of the next two fixtures - the U's next league game is at Cureton's long-term employers Swindon. His loan spell from the County Ground expires after the New Year's Eve visit to Brentford.


MK DONS: Baker, McClenahan, Morgan, Mills, Lewington, Mitchell, Edds, Quinn, Rizzo, Small, Wilbraham, Kamara, Crooks, Baldock, Odeyae Puncheon, McKoy and Martin.

COLCHESTER UNITED: Gerken, Stockley, Richards, Baldwin, Elokobi, Halford, Izzet, Danns, Elokobi, Williams, Garcia, Watson, White, Iwelumo, Yeates, Brown, Chilvers and Cousins.

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