The U’s answer to Jordan Rhodes
HUDDERSFIELD Town might have Jordan Rhodes, but Colchester United have a striker to match him.
The Terriers visit the Weston Homes Community Stadium on Saturday, with the prolific Rhodes, sold by Ipswich Town in the summer of 2009, looking to add to his remarkable tally of 33 goals for the season.
Indeed, Town fans still lament the day then-boss Roy Keane sold the fledgling star to Huddersfield for peanuts – he will always be the one that got away from Portman Road.
While U’s front-runner Gillespie cannot come close to Rhodes’ season tally, a terrific run of nine goals in his last 10 appearances has propelled him into the limelight.
Rhodes has actually netted 11 goals in his last 10 outings, helped by a five-goal cameo in a 6-0 win at Wycombe in early January.
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It will certainly be interesting to compare the two strikers on Saturday.
For his part, Gillespie is not looking to rest on his laurels.
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He wants more goals, preferably continuing the trend against high-flying Huddersfield.
“This is probably up there as being one of the best periods of my career,” enthused Gillespie.
“I don’t think I’ve ever scored this many in such a short spell, although I’ve had a record of about one goal in two matches throughout my career.
“It’s a good purple patch for myself, but I’m looking for more goals.”
The U’s beat leaders Charlton 2-0 at The Valley last week, and held second-placed Sheffield United to a 1-1 draw on Tuesday night.
Gillespie netted against the Addicks and also bagged a superb equaliser against the Blades.
Not surprisingly, the ex-Cheltenham marksman sees no reason why the U’s cannot achieve another positive result against fourth-placed Huddersfield.
“The team is doing well. We are looking a lot more solid and not conceding many goals. It’s good to be a part of it,” explained Gillespie.
“We gave Sheffield United a good run for their money, and I think a draw was the fair result.
“We shaded the second half, and they the first half.
“Maybe a win would have flattered us, but we have to work hard against these sort of teams.
“We have shown that we can do it against the big boys, and I hope we can keep that going.
“We want to keep grinding out results. We’ve got another big game against Huddersfield.
“They will come here with plenty of goals – we know that very well – but if we can keep them out, then I’m sure we can score at the other end.”
Despite a stop-start first half of the season, ex-Liverpool trainee Gillespie has now joined Anthony Wordsworth at the top of the U’s goalscoring charts on 11 goals.
Gillespie said: “Woody mentioned the leading scorer in the showers (after the Sheffield United game).
“It’s good competition, and Hendo (Ian Henderson) is not far off either.”
The U’s are seven points adrift of the play-offs, but Gillespie is not ruling out a late run for the top six.
He added: “I think we’ve got to look up towards the top six.
“There are still so many games left, and hopefully other teams will tire while we don’t.”