U's sign ex Southend star Guttridge

COLCHESTER United completed their fourth signing of the week, with the arrival of Luke Guttridge from Leyton Orient yesterday.Midfielder Guttridge was always a thorn in the U's side, during his days at Essex rivals Southend, so he will be a welcome addition to the Layer Road club.

By Carl Marston

COLCHESTER United completed their fourth signing of the week, with the arrival of Luke Guttridge from Leyton Orient yesterday.

Midfielder Guttridge was always a thorn in the U's side, during his days at Essex rivals Southend, so he will be a welcome addition to the Layer Road club.

He can operate effectively on the right flank, perhaps as a replacement for the departed Richard Garcia (now at Hull), or play in the centre of the park.

The 25-year-old began his career as an apprentice at Torquay, before making 159 first team appearances for Cambridge United during a five-year stay at the Abbey Stadium.

He was named skipper and at one stage there was even talk of him joining Premiership club Charlton Athletic.

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Pint-sized Guttridge eventually signed for Southend in March, 2005, and was a key member of the Shrimpers' League One championship-winning side of 2005-06, playing regularly alongside Kevin Maher in central midfield.

However, Guttridge endured a frustrating campaign in Southend's quickfire relegation from the Championship last season, and signed for Leyton Orient in January after an initial loan spell.

U's manager Geraint Williams confirmed last night: “Luke can play anywhere across the midfield, and he is available on a free transfer.

“He spent the end of last season at Leyton Orient, but he always did well against us while with Southend, and he should further strengthen our squad.”

Barnstaple-born Guttridge made 72 first team appearances for the Shrimpers, 63 in the league, and scored five goals, all of them in the League One promotion season.

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