No going for a draw for U's

TALENTED young keeper Dean Gerken insists that Colchester United will not be going to Yeovil Town to play for a draw, even though that would be sufficient to secure promotion.

By Carl Marston

TALENTED young keeper Dean Gerken insists that Colchester United will not be going to Yeovil Town to play for a draw, even though that would be sufficient to secure promotion.

The U's only need one point from Saturday's trip to Huish Park to be assured of automatic promotion to the Championship.

But the attack-minded Essex club have no intention of trying to hold on for a draw against the Glovers, even though the U's can boast the best defensive record in the division.

Not even leaders Southend, who are already promoted, can eclipse the U's superb defensive statistics of just 40 goals conceded from 45 league matches.

Gerken kept another clean-sheet in last Saturday's 2-0 win over Rotherham and the 20-year-old is set to retain his place again this weekend, due to Aidan Davison's recent serious bout of food poisoning.

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But Gerken wants his team to extinguish the nerves with a high tempo, attacking performance.

“We're going to Yeovil to win the match. There's no point in us playing for a draw,” insisted Gerken.

“We know that a win or draw will be enough for us to get promoted, but it's too dangerous for us just to play for a draw. We mustn't slip up.

“It would be very difficult to just play for a point. Other teams in the top four have slipped up in recent weeks but we haven't, and we don't want that to change now.

“Huddersfield dropped out of the promotion race on Saturday, and Brentford also dropped vital points. Southend are now promoted, but even they went through a bad patch,” added Gerken.

Southend-born Gerken has spent most of this campaign playing second fiddle to Davison, who is also his goalkeeping coach.

But the 37-year-old was hospitalised with the effects of food poisoning last week and is unlikely to return this weekend.

Gerken is, therefore poised to start only his sixth league game of the season, in what is certainly one of Colchester's biggest games in their 69-year history as a professional club.

“It doesn't look like Aidan will be fit to play, so I guess I will be in goal at Yeovil,” admitted Gerken.

“The defence has had done well throughout the season, and they made sure that I didn't have too much to do against Rotherham. I was happy with my performance, and delighted with the clean-sheet.

“Aidan has done so well this season, that it's been difficult for me to get into the side.

“But these last three games have been three of the most important in the club's history, and I haven't found it as difficult as some people might think to suddenly be playing again.

“It's obviously easier to come back into a side that's winning, rather than losing. Confidence is very high.

“I've been helped massively by the defence, and it's just a case of coping with everything that's thrown at you. I think the reason we're up there, in second spot, is down to our brilliant defence,” concluded Gerken.

Third-placed Brentford are the only team who can spoil the U's promotion party. If the U's lose at Yeovil, then the Bees will snatch second spot on the final day if they can win at Bournemouth. That would condemn the U's to the play-offs.

However, looking on the bright side, Phil Parkinson's men could be celebrating the championship as well as promotion on Saturday, if they beat Yeovil and leaders Southend fail to beat visiting Bristol City.

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