Keeper happy to let others take glory

JAMIE Cureton may have been grabbing all the headlines with his flurry of goals, but Colchester United have been just as effective at the other end of the pitch.

By Carl Marston

JAMIE Cureton may have been grabbing all the headlines with his flurry of goals, but Colchester United have been just as effective at the other end of the pitch.

The U's last dozen games in the Championship have yielded half-a-dozen clean-sheets, a proud record for young keeper Dean Gerken.

The 21-year-old custodian maintained his recent ratio, of one clean-sheet every two games, by shutting out his home town club, Southend United, in the Good Friday sunshine.


You may also want to watch:


That 3-0 success at Roots Hall completed back-to-back clean-sheets for Gerken, following the 3-0 home victory over Norwich City the previous weekend. And he is gunning for a hat-trick against Leeds United this afternoon.

“We didn't play well at Leeds (3-0 defeat) last November. It was one of our poorest performances of the season, but we'll be looking for revenge at Layer Road,” said Gerken.

Most Read

“I enjoyed the win at Southend. I was born just down the road at Rochford, and I had a lot of family and friends watching. It was a great day for the fans.

“Of course I'm over the moon to keep another clean-sheet. I made a couple of saves, but we basically restricted them to shots outside the box. I had even less to do against Norwich the previous weekend, so we're playing well as a team. I don't know about us making the play-offs, but we'll be aiming to win our remaining five games and see where that leaves us.”

Former youth teamer Gerken has not looked back since Aidan Davison picked up an injury at the end of November.

Davison's last game was the 5-1 thrashing of Hull City on November 28, since when he has spent most of his time on the bench.

Today will be Gerken's 23rd successive appearance, and the 56th senior game of his short career. Most of his team-mates are predicting that he will be gracing the Premiership within the next few years

Gerken, though, prefers to dwell on the form of others, especially that of 20-goal striker Cureton.

“That's the best hat-trick that I've ever seen,” revealed Gerken, with reference to the blitz of Southend.

U's boss Geraint Williams is set to name an unchanged team for this afternoon's sell-out clash against Leeds.

Winger Kevin McLeod travelled to Southend, after recovering from his recent hernia operation, although he didn't make the final 16-man squad. He could make the bench this afternoon.

Slovakian international Lubomir Michalik scored a late winner to propel Leeds out of the bottom three on Saturday.

The defender headed home Alan Thompson's 87th minute free-kick, after David Healy had earlier cancelled out Sylvan Ebanks-Blake's opener for visiting Plymouth in a 2-1 win.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter