Karl Duguid has not hung up his boots just yet

Karl Duguid

Karl Duguid - Credit: Andrew Partridge

He might be embracing his role as a coach, but loyal servant Karl Duguid is still available to play for the Colchester United first team.

The versatile Duguid was appointed to a new player-coach position towards the end of last season, as the U’s eventually succeeded in staving off relegation into League Two.

Looking forward to the new campaign, one of Duguid’s priorities will be to nurture the talents of some of the U’s younger brigade, like Drey Wright, Freddie Ladapo and Alex Gilbey, who will all be looking to make a big impact in 2013-14.

But Duguid, now aged 35, has not ruled out the possibility of adding to his own impressive total of 417 league appearances for the U’s, and 475 senior outings in all competitions.

“I’m keeping myself fit, just in case I get the call-up,” revealed Duguid last night.

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“This will be my first full year in my capacity as a coach, and I’m really looking forward to this next stage of my career.

“It’s a bit of a juggling act, focusing on my coaching while also keeping fit enough to play, if needed.

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“Ireland (pre-season training camp) was a good team-bonding exercise, and the three new signings have not only given the club a boost, but also the whole town.

“I think that the team spirit that was built up last season, which helped us to avoid relegation, has galvanised the likes of Craig Eastmond, Sanchez Watt and Jabo Iberhe to return.

“It was a bit of a struggle at times last season, but hopefully we will have benefited from that experience, because we don’t want to go through that again.

“I don’t know whether I will be involved myself, as a player, but I’m still contracted to play, so I will make sure that I am fit enough and available, especially if we get a few injuries and suspensions,” added Duguid.

Duguid only made seven appearances last season, five in the league. In fact, his last outing was a 2-2 draw at Shrewsbury, back on October 27, 2012.

He will no doubt see a little action in pre-season, not least because the U’s have a packed summer programme, including three glamorous home friendlies against West Ham, Tottenham, and Ipswich.

“There are a lot of big games to look forward to. No wonder there is a good vibe about the place,” added Duguid.

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