Painful gamble for Gillespie

BRAVE Steven Gillespie took a big gamble to try and salvage some Essex pride for Colchester United, but playing through the pain barrier proved all in vain.

Carl Marston

BRAVE Steven Gillespie took a big gamble to try and salvage some Essex pride for Colchester United, but playing through the pain barrier proved all in vain.

Front-runner Gillespie has been dogged by injuries since his move from Cheltenham Town last summer, for a club record fee of �400,000.

The ex-Liverpool trainee has only started six league games all campaign, but he was determined to at least play a part in Saturday's local derby against Southend.


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He therefore passed himself fit and eventually appeared as a 66th minute substitute. The 24-year-old headed wide from one half-chance, but in truth the U's rarely looked like grabbing an equaliser.

“My calf was still feeling sore from the Bristol Rovers game (January 24), but I couldn't have just sat there in the stand wondering might have been, and whether I could have made a difference,” confessed Gillespie.

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“I've had such a stop-start season. It's been a real nightmare, but there was a big crowd today and I just wanted to take the gamble and make myself available.

“I wanted to give the fans something to cheer about, and to get loved, because it's been a frustrating time for me.

“It was a massive game and we really needed the three points. That's why I took the gamble. It was my decision, not anyone else's.

“I had trained from Tuesday throughout the week, but it's a difficult balance to get right, between trying to get match-fit and also resting up.

“It was a tough one. I came prepared to play today, and I was given a chance on the bench. I wanted to try and play through the pain, and now I'll have to rest up over the weekend and then revaluate things on Monday,” added Gillespie.

The U's have now lost three games on the bounce, and failed to score in this trio of defeats to Tranmere, Walsall and Southend. It is a fact not lost on Gillespie.

“I am judged by the number of goals I score. I've done pretty well in my career, but I just want to get going this season,” continued Gillespie.

“We haven't been scoring lately, which means we have to knuckle down. I thought we dominated for large periods against Southend, but the quality was not there, which was frustrating because we knew what this game meant to the fans.

“Hopefully, my calf will settle down. Maybe I'll just have to play through it,” concluded Gillespie.

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