Relief for Duguid as he targets return

KARL Duguid is no stranger to long-term injuries, and he feared the worst when he twisted his ankle during Saturday's 2-1 defeat at Stoke City.But Colchester United's experienced skipper has made such good progress over the last 48 hours that he is confident of missing not even one game.

By Carl Marston

KARL Duguid is no stranger to long-term injuries, and he feared the worst when he twisted his ankle during Saturday's 2-1 defeat at Stoke City.

But Colchester United's experienced skipper has made such good progress over the last 48 hours that he is confident of missing not even one game.

Next weekend's break for internationals could not come at a better time for Duguid, and the 29-year-old is targeting the next game on the U's calendar, at home to West Brom, for his quickfire return.


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“When I first did it, I thought that I might have broken my ankle,” admitted Duguid last night.

“The inside of my ankle went numb, and I was in a lot of pain. I was stretchered off the pitch, and I then used crutches as a precaution.

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“However, it's looking good. I have stretched a few ligaments in my ankle, and I'm used to doing that. The ligaments are quite strong because they have been stretched so often. I've had a lot of ankle injuries in my time.

“The swelling has come down after a couple of days' treatment. I'm not using the crutches anymore, and it was a good sign that I could put weight on the ankle before I got on the team-coach on Saturday night.

“There's a couple of weeks until our next match, and I'm looking to play in that one,” confirmed Duguid.

Duguid, the U's longest-serving player, celebrated his 400th senior appearance for the club on the opening day of this season at Sheffield United. However, he would have been close to 500 by now, but for a long-term knee injury that sidelined him for 17 months.

He damaged medial ligaments during a home match against Stockport County on March 2, 2004, which caused him to miss the whole of the 2004-05 campaign. He made his return on the opening day of the following season.

For a few minutes last Saturday, when Duguid turned his ankle while attempting to block Richard Cresswell's cross, it looked as though he was facing another nightmarish stint on the sidelines, and on the treatment table, especially when he was strapped to the stretcher and carried off the Britannia Stadium pitch. But he could be back in training in a few days time.

Having passed 400 senior games, and 350 league appearances, during the first few weeks of this season, Duguid's next target will be to reach the 50-goal mark. He is currently on 46, although it's a tall order to ask a right-back to score four goals between now and the end of the campaign.

Meanwhile, the fortnight's break should also benefit the U's injured duo of Teddy Sheringham and Kevin Watson. Ex-England star Sheringham has missed the last five games with a hamstring problem, while midfielder Watson is yet to make an appearance after Achilles tendon and calf injuries.

Left-winger Kevin McLeod should also enjoy the rest, having sat out the last two fixtures with a bout of flu.

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