Regular Chris an international now
COLCHESTER United are not used to one of their players continually travelling abroad to play international football.But that's all changed now that club skipper Chris Coyne has become a regular feature of Australia's central defence.
by Carl Marston
COLCHESTER United are not used to one of their players continually travelling abroad to play international football.
But that's all changed now that club skipper Chris Coyne has become a regular feature of Australia's central defence.
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Coyne is already safely installed as the most capped U's player in history, having made his fourth appearance for the Socceroos in their 1-0 win at Uzbekistan in Wednesday night's World Cup qualifier.
With the exception of America's Mike Masters and Nigeria's Efe Sodje, no other player has represented their country at senior level while on the books of Colchester.
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The likes of Mark Kinsella and Lomana Lua Lua both went on to win caps for Republic of Ireland and the Democratic Republic of Congo respectively, but only later in their careers after their departures from Layer Road.
Although extremely proud to be playing for his country, Coyne's excursions away with Australia will seriously test the stamina of the 29-year-old defender, as U's boss Geraint Williams admitted last night.
"It's a great honour for Chris (Coyne) to play for his country, and it's a great honour for the club as well," said Williams.
"But obviously it concerns me with all this travelling and playing that Chris is having to do. He played 75 minutes against Holland (in a friendly) last Saturday, and then played the full 90 minutes against Uzbekistan on Wednesday.
"He then had an eight-hour flight back to England. He's been in for a warm-down (yesterday), and he then went home for a sleep.
"The fact that Chris is playing for Australia, in the Oceania group, means that there is more travelling than with most other countries.
"But he will be available for us this weekend, and he's in contention," added Williams.
Coyne started only his second league game of the season in the 2-2 home draw against Oldham Athletic a fortnight ago. The former Luton skipper replaced Paul Reid, who has been sidelined with a groin injury for the last three league and cup fixtures.
Coyne retained his place for the 1-0 win at Millwall in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy last Tuesday week, but will face competition from Reid for a place in the team at Crewe Alexandra tomorrow. Williams confirmed: Paul (Reid) has trained all this week and is in contention.
"Steven Gillespie also did some light training on Tuesday, and joined in fully on Wednesday. He too is feeling fine."
Leading scorer Gillespie tweaked his hamstring while scoring the late consolation goal in the U's 2-1 defeat at Ipswich Town in the second round of the Carling Cup. But the U's club record signing might feature at Crewe.
However, left-back Matt Lockwood is still sidelined with tendinitis, and left-winger Medy Elito is nursing a sore knee after his debut appearance for England Under-19s in the 2-1 win over Holland on Tuesday night.