Karl Duguid’s ‘gut feeling’ about his old club Colchester United

Karl Duguid following his final appearance for the U's, at Walsall at the end of the 2013-14 season

Karl Duguid following his final appearance for the U's, at Walsall at the end of the 2013-14 season - Credit: Archant

Former Colchester United stalwart, Karl Duguid, always had a ‘gut feeling’ that his old club would avoid relegation.

And the 37-year-old, looking from afar, was ultimately proved right.

Despite the early goals of Freddie Sears, before his January switch to Ipswich Town, and the late goals of replacement striker Chris Porter, it was the defence that most caught Duguid’s eye during the closing weeks of the campaign.

“I agree that it was looking dicey at one point, especially in that last away game at Fleetwood, when they were 2-1 down and seemingly heading for relegation,” explained Duguid.

“But I always had a gut feeling that Colchester would stay up. I suppose it’s because I have been a part of it in the past, and knew what the club was all about.

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“I did begin to question my optimism, when they failed to beat Swindon (1-1 home draw) in the penultimate game.

“But it all came good in the end, and I think that in large part must go down to the defence.

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“They had a settled back four for the last 10 games of the season, and that can make all the difference.

“We always had a settled back four during our successful times, especially getting up to the Championship (2005-06) and then the great first season at that level,” added Duguid.

Although centre-half Tom Eastman was ever-present, playing every minute of every game, his centre-half partner was forever changing – he had 11 different central defensive partners during the campaign.

But stability, and familiarity, was finally achieved in the U’s last 10 games, with the arrival of Bongani Khumalo on loan from Tottenham.

Eastman and Khumalo formed a formidable partnership at the back, which resulted in just two defeats suffered during those last 10 games.

“I was naturally delighted to see Colchester get safe, especially after they had been in the bottom four for so long. It felt like they were in the relegation zone the whole season!” continued Duguid.

“I would have been sorry to see them get relegated, and I always thought that there would be one final twist on the final day.

“They stepped up to the plate and I’m really pleased for them.”

Duguid was part of the furniture at Colchester until last Autumn, when he ended his long association with the Essex club, which had stretched back to the early-mid 1990s.

Having made his U’s debut, as a 17-year-old, in December, 1995, he went on to make 418 league appearances for the U’s, in two spells (1995-2008, and 2011-14).

Duguid is now looking forward to next season, when he takes on his new role as player-coach at Ryman League Premier Division newcomers Needham Market.

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