Pat wants a run in the team

PAT Baldwin, Colchester United’s third longest-serving player, is hoping to re-establish himself in the side over the coming weeks.

PAT Baldwin, Colchester United’s third longest-serving player, is hoping to re-establish himself in the side over the coming weeks.

Ex-Chelsea trainee Baldwin, who is yet to start a league game this term, was surprisingly summoned off the bench after just 35 minutes of Saturday’s disappointing 3-0 defeat at high-flying Sheffield United.

Manager John Ward, recognising that Matt Heath was struggling to cope with the Blades’ strike-force, opted to introduce the experienced Baldwin into the heart of defence.

The 28-year-old immediately settled into the groove, alongside Magnus Okuonghae, and is now gunning for a run in the team.

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“I just want to play football,” explained Baldwin.

“Sheffield United is a great stadium and I love playing there. I’ve played there quite a few times, and I enjoyed it on Saturday.

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“I played in the FA Cup game (1-0 defeat in the fifth round in 2004) there, which was a fantastic day out with 3,000 of our fans in the stadium. So I have good memories.

“But now we have to look forward to this weekend (at home to Walsall). It’s a big game for us to try and rectify the situation.

“Whether I am playing in the team is not down to me. I just do what I can do whenever I get a chance, like at Sheffield,” added Baldwin.

London-born Baldwin signed for the U’s as a then-slim and rangy teenager during the summer of 2002, and has gone on to chalk up 206 league appearances in a U’s shirt.

He swept the board at the 2004-05 player-of-the-season awards, and the following campaign played a major part in helping United to win promotion to the Championship.

But he has found it more difficult to hold down a place in recent years, due in part to niggling injuries. He has also had loan spells at Bristol Rovers and Southend.

Only Karl Duguid and Kem Izzet have spent more years with the U’s, so there is no better judge of the rising standards of League One than Baldwin.

And he believes that it is getting tougher and tougher to win promotion.

“Where we stand in the league at the moment is evident by the table (15th). All we can do is keeping working hard,” continued Baldwin.

“We’ve played a lot of big clubs already, but if we want to get where we want to be, we have to play these sort of teams.

“I think this league gets harder and harder every single year. It has since I’ve been playing in it. There are no easy games, and there are some massive clubs in this league.”

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