New boy Vincent turned down Dons

NEW recruit Ashley Vincent had no hesitation in choosing Colchester United ahead of MK Dons, even though the Milton Keynes club are knocking on the door of the Championship.

Carl Marston

NEW recruit Ashley Vincent had no hesitation in choosing Colchester United ahead of MK Dons, even though the Milton Keynes club are knocking on the door of the Championship.

Front-runner Vincent completed his loan switch from Cheltenham Town to the U's yesterday, with a view to a permanent move this summer, after passing a medical earlier in the week.

The 23-year-old will not be involved at league leaders Leicester City tomorrow, due to an ongoing knee problem, but he should be fit by the end of this month.

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And Vincent believes he has made the right choice in opting for Colchester.

“There were a couple of clubs interested in signing me, but I spoke to Colchester first and from then on I always wanted to come here,” revealed Vincent yesterday.

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“Colchester are a team who are looking to go places, and I just felt that they were the right club for me to develop as a footballer, more so than MK Dons.

“I know a couple of the players, obviously Steve Gillespie from his days at Cheltenham and also Lewis Gobern (loanee) from my time in the youth team at Wolves.

“I did speak to MK Dons, and it's nice to know that they wanted me, but I had already made my decision. I know that I can grow here as a footballer.”

Winger Vincent, who can also operate as a striker, has managed to score six goals for Cheltenham from a wide position this season, an impressive haul at a club who are rooted to the foot of League One.

The Robins face challenging times off the pitch as well, with the whole squad up for sale. Vincent joins the likes of Lloyd Owusu and Alex Russell who have already left Whaddon Road.

Vincent explained: “To tell you the truth, I'm glad of a breath of fresh air after all the troubles at Cheltenham.

“The results have not been good, and off the pitch there have been problems as well with players' wages being deferred for a couple of days. It all preys on players' minds, especially if you know that things might change quickly and you might be on the move to another club.

“I want to push on with my career now. Colchester came down from the Championship last year, and they are still knocking on the door of the play-offs. I want to come in and give it a go.

“Steven (Gillespie) has had a tough time with injuries since he's been here, but he told me that if you can stay fit and get in the team, then you will learn off being around better players,” added Vincent.

U's boss Paul Lambert has signed a number of new players since his appointment last October, including full-backs Marc Tierney and Alan Maybury, and winger Simon Hackney, on a permanent basis. Jimmy Walker, Lee Hills, Jermaine Easter, Sam Williams and Gobern have also had spells on loan.

Vincent insisted that the presence of Lambert was another big reason for his move to Colchester.

He continued: “The manager was a massive part in my decision, because when I came down to Colchester last week it was to speak to him.

“He (Lambert) is a manager who says it as he sees it. There are no hidden things with him, and this was a massive factor. The team also likes to play an attacking way, which suits my style.

“I played against Colchester a couple of times this season. We (Cheltenham) were 3-1 down to them at Whaddon Road, but ended up winning 4-3. However, Colchester should not have lost that day. We just had a good 20 minutes at the end.

“I've been so used to playing backs-to-the-wall football at Cheltenham. But I had a good five years with them, after moving from Wolves.

“I was with Wolves since the age of 10, and was on a scholarship from 16 to 19. John Ward, who was the reserve team manager, then took me with him to Cheltenham when he became their manager.

“We won promotion and it all went well until this season. Martin Allen (current manager) has put a lot of faith in me this season, and I think I've done well.

“But I needed to get myself out of the comfort zone, to test myself, which is why I am at Colchester.

“I have signed on loan until the end of the season, and we'll then see what happens. I just want to get myself fit, and hopefully I'll be back in training within another week,” concluded Vincent.

Lambert said of his new signing: “Ashley has speed in abundance. He's only 23, and he'll only get better.

“Hopefully he will kick on with us, and we will get the best out of him. Pace in modern day football is very important.”

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