Reid gunning for third clean-sheet

COLCHESTER United will today bid to achieve what they failed to manage throughout the whole of last season - namely, keeping a third clean-sheet!The U's chalked up just two clean-sheets in their 48 league and cup games last term.

Carl Marston

COLCHESTER United will today bid to achieve what they failed to manage throughout the whole of last season - namely, keeping a third clean-sheet!

The U's chalked up just two clean-sheets in their 48 league and cup games last term. A 3-0 win at Preston in August, and a 2-0 home success over Ipswich in April, were the only occasions that either keeper Dean Gerken or his deputy Aidan Davison enjoyed a shut-out.

But today Geraint Williams' men have an early chance to keep a third clean-sheet on the trot, following a 1-0 win at Gillingham in the Carling Cup and a goalless home draw against Huddersfield Town in the Community Stadium curtain-raiser last weekend.


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Summer recruit Paul Reid, who has already established himself as a mainstay of the U's central defence, is now focussing on keeping out hosts Swindon Town at the County Ground this afternoon.

Reid partnered Chris Coyne for the opening day defeat at Hartlepool, but has been paired with fellow new signing Matt Heath during the last two games.

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“Me and Matt (Heath) have the shirts at the moment, but we know that Coyney (Coyne) is the club skipper and that he is champing at the bit to return to the side,” explained Reid last night.

“I knew Matt before we arrived here. I played against him several times, and we have several mutual friends. I'm certainly comfortable playing alongside him.

“We have real competition for places, and it's up to us to build on our last couple of performances.

“All the lads were distraught after the opening day 4-2 defeat at Hartlepool. I'm sure the management were not happy either, because they had brought in so many defenders over the summer, myself included.

“We have watched the video of that game several times, and I think that we have identified what we did wrong. We have bounced back well, with two clean-sheets, and we're looking on it as a two-match unbeaten run that we want to extend,” added Reid.

Carlisle-born Reid signed from Barnsley over the summer, having been hampered by injury last term before ending up back at his home town club of Carlisle on a loan spell.

The 26-year-old was actually the Barnsley skipper last term, so he knows how desperate Coyne will be to return to the starting line-up. At least ex-Luton skipper Coyne had the consolation of making his second appearance for Australia in a 2-2 draw against South Africa in Tuesday night's friendly at QPR's Loftus Road.

Meanwhile, Reid is hoping that the U's strike-force can regain their scoring touch. Steven Gillespie netted both goals at Hartlepool, but it was centre-half Heath who scored the winner at Gillingham, while chances were at a premium against Huddersfield.

“A team's success is built on a strong defence, but we need to get it right at the other end as well,” added Reid.

For the record, Arsenal loanee Matt Connolly (now QPR) and Pat Baldwin (currently injured) were at the heart of defence during last season's 3-0 win at Preston, while Coyne and Heath (then on loan from Leeds) were together for the other clean-sheet against Ipswich.

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