Surprise, surprise, Gillespie could return

INJURY-plagued Steven Gillespie could make a surprise appearance on the substitutes’ bench at Carlisle United tomorrow.

INJURY-plagued Steven Gillespie could make a surprise appearance on the substitutes’ bench at Carlisle United tomorrow.

The Colchester United front-runner has only started one league game all season, and even that ended prematurely with a tweaked hamstring midway through the first-half of last month’s 4-2 win over Nott County.

But Gillespie, who has spent most of this term either on the bench or on the treatment table, has made such good progress from his latest injury scare that he is set to make the journey to Cumbria.

The ex-Cheltenham Town front-runner is desperate to return to action, and so make up for lost time, although it will be manager John Ward who decides whether or not to risk him this weekend.


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“Instead of leaving Steven at home, he will be able to come up and train with us,” explained Ward.

“The encouragement of being on the coach with the first team squad again would be great for him, and to get him on the training pitch when we get to Penrith will be good. Getting him around the game on Saturday would also be a big boost for him.

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“Steven could have played for the Reserves last night (3-1 win away at Oxford United on Tuesday night), but it was my decision for him not to.

“I wanted to keep him out. He will be fit and well for the Cup tie (against Swindon), but we may pop him on the bus to go to Carlisle.

“He needs a wee bit more time, but he is that close. I may or may not use him at the moment, that’s to be decided.

“It will be a real lift whatever. “Steven is ready to have a go, and it’s just whether I am ready to give him a go,” added Ward.

Meanwhile, U’s defender Tom Aldred signed on loan for League Two club Torquay on transfer deadline day yesterday. He could make his Gulls’ debut against Port Vale this evening.

Aldred was recruited from Watford at the start of September, but is yet to break into the U’s first team. He has been drafted into the Torquay squad as cover for centre-half Brian Saah, who tore a groin muscle during the Devon derby against Plymouth last weekend.

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