Marcus is no has-Bean

Marcus Bean

Marcus Bean - Credit: Ashley Pickering

Marcus Bean is looking to make up for lost time, after a stop-start first nine months of 2013.

Midfielder Bean, a regular in Colchester United’s line-up during the first half of his first season with the U’s, has spent more time on the sidelines than on the pitch in recent times.

But the 28-year-old, who missed very few games during his four years at previous club Brentford, is hoping to stamp his authority on the U’s team again, especially as Joe Dunne’s men have shown signs of wobbling over the last fortnight.

Bean was back in the midfield cauldron for last Sunday’s 2-0 defeat at the hands of Coventry City. Incredibly, it was only his seventh start of the year, and only his third since the end of January.

No wonder, then, that the Jamaican international is keen to hold down a regular place, starting at high-flying Bradford City, who are managed by former U’s boss Phil Parkinson, the man who masterminded the Essex club’s fantastic promotion to the Championship in 2005-06.

“It’s been so stop-start for me, with illness and injury,” rued Bean, in the build-up to tomorrow’s test at Valley Parade.

“It’s annoying, because I started so well on the opening day at Gillingham. Now I’m just glad to get back fit.

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“It’s been a frustrating last couple of weeks, so it was good to be out there (playing against Coventry). The aim is now obviously to stay fit, and look forward to Bradford.

“I’ve had a hip injury, but it felt good last weekend, better than I thought, so I was pleased to get through 60-odd minutes.

“I was in and out of the team, during the back end of last season, although I played the last game of the season (2-0 win at Carlisle to escape relegation).

“The target this season was to try and cement myself in the team, but that hasn’t happened yet, for various reasons.

“Now I just want to stay in the manager’s mind. I want to get into the team against Bradford, and go from there,” added Bean.

Hammersmith-born Bean was one of the most experienced players in a very youthful-looking U’s team against Coventry.

He was surrounded by teenagers, such as Alex Gilbey (18), Tosin Olufemi (19), Drey Wright (18) and Mason Spence (18).

Right-back Spence made a surprise senior debut, as a 19th minute substitute for an under-the-weather Ryan Dickson against Coventry.

Olufemi celebrated only his fourth senior start, all of them coming in the U’s last four games, while for midfielder Gilbey it was only his third league start in a Colchester shirt.

Even winger Wright, who has been more involved in the senior set up, has only started 10 league games.

Bean continued: “Last Sunday was a great learning curve for the youngsters coming in. I thought they did well.

“I thought Mason (Spence) looked steady in his first game for us. He put himself about.

“Tosin looked very reliable, as he has all season. He has come on leaps and bounds. They looked good, and (Alex) Gilbey applied himself well.”

By contrast, Bean has made 297 league appearances during a career which began more than 11 years ago, with a debut for QPR at Wycombe.

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