Mark to find new goal celebration

THE last time that Colchester United supporters witnessed Mark Yeates in a U's shirt, he was leaving the pitch with both a smile and a grimace on his face.

By Carl Marston

THE last time that Colchester United supporters witnessed Mark Yeates in a U's shirt, he was leaving the pitch with both a smile and a grimace on his face.

The Irishman had just scored a crunch goal to wrap up a 2-0 win over Rotherham on the penultimate weekend of the 2005-06 season, only to celebrate with an unwise dive onto the hard Layer Road surface.

Yeates' goal helped the U's to win automatic promotion from League One, but he was forced to sit out the precious goalless draw at Yeovil on the final day of the season, due to a dislocated shoulder sustained by that impulsive celebration.

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“I don't think I'll be diving anymore!” admitted Yeates, who is now back at Colchester on a permanent basis.

“A lot of the faces have changed, since I was here a year ago, but it's still great to be back. I had a season to forget last season.

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“I dislocated my shoulder against Rotherham, and couldn't get to the final match at Yeovil because I was having treatment at Tottenham. In fact, that injury took longer to get over than I'd hoped. It affected me at the start of last season, and I never really got going. But I'm looking forward to playing for Colchester again,” insisted Yeates.

The likeable Dubliner originally arrived at Layer Road on a season-long loan from Tottenham in the summer of 2005. In fact, he only missed two league games as Phil Parkinson's men guaranteed Championship football by finishing second to Southend.

The left-winger was on his travels again last term, with largely unsuccessful loan stints at Hull City and Leicester City. It was a stop-start campaign, but he wants to make up for lost time as United prepare for their second season in the Championship.

He is one of Geraint Williams' six summer recruits - the others are Clive Platt and Luke Guttridge (who both scored in the 3-0 win at Heybridge Swifts), Matthew Connolly, Danny Granville and of course Teddy Sheringham.

Yeates missed last Saturday's first pre-season friendly at Heybridge, due to a thigh strain. But the 22-year-old is hoping to return to action this week, maybe at Cambridge United this evening.

“I felt the injury in training on Wednesday when in Ireland. I had another twinge on Friday, so there was no point in risking it,” revealed Yeates. I think that the squad is looking strong, despite all the departures. I know most of the new lads anyway. There's a lot of experience with the likes of Danny (Granville), Clive Platt and of course Teddy Sheringham.

“We had a great season when I was last here, and I felt a bit jealous with the lads doing so well to finish 10th. But I don't see any reason why we can't repeat it this year,” added Yeates.

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