U's can bounce straight back, says Reid

NEW signing Paul Reid has described Colchester United as “the right place to be.”Reid endured a season to forget at Barnsley last term, after three previous great years with the Tykes.

Carl Marston

NEW signing Paul Reid has described Colchester United as “the right place to be.”

Reid endured a season to forget at Barnsley last term, after three previous great years with the Tykes. Now he is looking to resurrect his career at the U's new Weston Homes Community Stadium.

The former Carlisle, Glasgow Rangers, Northampton and Barnsley centre-half put pen to paper on a new contract on Tuesday, and joined in pre-season training for the first time on Thursday.

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And he has no real qualms about dropping into League One with the U's, who finished rock bottom of the Championship in May.

“Obviously every player wants to play at the highest level possible, and I'm no different,” explained Reid.

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“I wouldn't have signed for Colchester if I didn't think they could win promotion back to the Championship. That's what we will all be pushing for. I believe that Colchester have the potential to become a Championship club again.

“When I first came down to Colchester, the manager (Geraint Williams) made a good impression on me. The new ground looks great, and will be up and running soon, and hopefully a new training ground is not too far off.

“I felt that the club was very ambitious, and it felt like the right place to be.

“Colchester have shown faith in me, by offering me such a good contract after I hardly played at all last season,” added Reid.

Carlisle-born Reid played just four games for the Tykes last campaign, three in the league and one in the Carling Cup. Furthermore, one these four outings was the 2-2 draw at Layer Road, when he was sent off for violent conduct early in the second half.

By contrast, the 26-year-old was a near ever-present in his three previous seasons at Oakwell, guiding Barnsley to promotion via the League One play-offs in 2005-06, where they beat Swansea in the final following a penalty shoot-out.

Reid was the skipper at the Millennium Stadium that day, and he was also the captain during Barnsley's first season in the Championship.

Reid explained: “I guess that last season was just one of those seasons that most footballers get, when not much goes right.

“But that does not detract from my three previous great seasons at Barnsley. The play-off final victory over Swansea was without doubt the biggest highlight of my career. That was great.

“It's right what they say, that if you can guarantee winning promotion via the play-offs, then that's the best way to get promoted. It was a special day.

“It's a big step up from League One to the Championship. Colchester obviously did well in their first season (10th), having come up with us, and I wasn't surprised by their success because they had so many good players.

“We managed to survive that season, and again last season. Even though I didn't play much, it was still a good year for the club.

“It can be a lottery who goes down from the Championship. There are so many good clubs. Colchester were unfortunately one of those to get relegated,” added Reid.

Having watched his side concede 86 goals in their 46 league fixtures last season, manager Williams has made it his priority to bolster his defensive department over the summer.

To that end, the Welshman has already snapped up three experienced defenders, in centre-half Matt Heath from Leeds, left-back Matt Lockwood from Nottingham Forest, and Reid from Barnsley. Reid can also operate as a defensive midfielder.

“The gaffer pinpointed the defence as a key area to improve, and I'm not the first defender to sign this summer,” continued Reid.

“The lads have been sticking the goals in at the other end, and it's our job to keep them out at our end. I know that there are a lot of old skippers in the squad now, and I don't know who will be the captain for the new season.

“But I don't think you can have enough leaders in a dressing room, or people who are prepared to speak out and make their voice heard,” added Reid.

Although club skipper Karl Duguid signed for Plymouth Argyle 10 days ago, there is no shortage of potential skippers in the U's squad, including former Luton captain Chris Coyne, ex-Brighton skipper Dean Hammond and former Leyton Orient captain Lockwood. Player-of-the-year Johnnie Jackson also had experience of leading the U's last season.

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