U's must keep Trundle quiet

COLCHESTER United will have to keep Coca-Cola League One Player-of-the-Year Lee Trundle under wraps, if they want to book a first-ever appearance at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium.

By Carl Marston

COLCHESTER United will have to keep Coca-Cola League One Player-of-the-Year Lee Trundle under wraps, if they want to book a first-ever appearance at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium.

Leading marksman Trundle has plundered 20 goals for promotion-chasing Swansea City this season, and he's gunning for more in tonight's first leg of the LDV Vans Trophy southern area final.

The 29-year-old is on the crest of a wave at the moment, after being named the League One Player-of-the-Year at Sunday evening's inaugural Football League awards ceremony.


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The Swans have drawn their last four games, which has seen them lose a little ground in the promotion race. The same has happened to Colchester, and Trundle knows that his side will probably need more than a draw this evening to reach next month's final. The second leg is at Layer Road next Tuesday.

“We must remember that it's only the first leg. We must make sure that we put ourselves in a strong position for the second leg at Layer Road,” insisted Trundle.

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“If anyone deserves a final day out at the Millennium Stadium, then it's our fans, because they have been magnificent to me and the rest of the squad.

“It's a competition we want to win for the fans as much as ourselves, especially with the final being at the Millennium Stadium,” added Trundle.

Even though Liverpool-born Trundle has missed a couple of months of this season through injury, he is still leading the League One goal-scoring charts alongside Scunthorpe's Billy Sharp.

Trundle, who was plucked out of non-league football by Wrexham only five years ago, is also bang in form after scoring in the Swans' last two games.

Not surprisingly, the 29-year-old has attracted the interest of Premiership clubs this season, including home town club Everton, although only last month he signed an extension to his contract that now lasts until 2009.

Trundle will be without his new strike-force partner Rory Fallon, who was snapped up from Swindon Town for £300,000 during the January transfer window. Fallon is cup-tied, having played for the Robins in their two LDV Vans Trophy fixtures against Stevenage and Peterborough earlier in the season.

But manager Kenny Jackett has no shortage of back-up firepower. Nigerian striker Adebayo Akinfenwa scored twice in extra-time during Swansea's dramatic 3-1 win over Peterborough in the quarter-finals of this competition. Akinfenwa was Torquay's player-of-the-season last term.

And pint-sized front-runner Leon Knight, a £125,000 purchase from Championship strugglers Brighton two months ago, is also in the frame for tonight's game.

The Swans reached the southern area final after a nervous penalty shoot-out against visitors Walsall last month. The match ended 2-2 after extra-time, with Knight and Andy Robinson on target. The Welshmen then won the shoot-out 6-5, with Alan Tate scoring the decisive penalty.

In the two earlier rounds, the League One club had comfortable victories at Torquay (3-1) and over Rushden & Diamonds (4-0).

Both Swansea and Colchester are locked together on 59 points in League One, in fourth and fifth positions respectively. Of course that will count for nothing tonight.

The two clubs have already met twice in the league, with the Swans winning 2-1 at Layer Road during the opening week of the campaign, and the U's then earning a deserved 1-1 draw at the Liberty Stadium in December. Attacking midfielder Robinson, who scored the Swansea goal that night, is the club's second-leading scorer with 15 goals.

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