U's skipper Duguid is still confident

COLCHESTER United skipper Karl Duguid remains upbeat despite his side's precarious position in the Championship table.The U's stalwart has faith in his team to cut out the “silly mistakes” during the next few months, as the U's aim to preserve their Championship status going into the new Community Stadium next season.

By Carl Marston

COLCHESTER United skipper Karl Duguid remains upbeat despite his side's precarious position in the Championship table.

The U's stalwart has faith in his team to cut out the “silly mistakes” during the next few months, as the U's aim to preserve their Championship status going into the new Community Stadium next season.

Duguid graduated from the youth team during the summer of 1996, and has never suffered relegation during his long and distinguished career at Layer Road. In fact, it has been a tale of success after success, only broken by an 18-month struggle against a knee injury.


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The 29-year-old is confident that the U's can stay in the second tier of the Football League, and for a change he's looking towards the club's away form to bolster their chances, starting at Wolves tonight.

“Performances away from home have better than last season,” explained Duguid. The U's have actually collected one extra point from their travels, compared to the same stage last year.

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He continued: “We're confident that we can get results away from home. We showed that at leaders Watford (2-2 draw), when we should really have beaten them.

“And I'm confident that we can force a positive result at Wolves. I know that we'll keep going, and we'll keep creating chances.

“We always look like scoring, but we must stop giving away such silly goals,” added Duguid.

The U's slumped to their third home defeat of the season on Saturday, losing 2-1 at the hands of Crystal Palace. Their cause was not helped by another sending-off, this time centre-half Pat Baldwin after just eight minutes.

It was the U's fourth red card of the campaign, resulting in their fifth suspension (Clive Platt was sent off in pre-season). The Essex club will have to improve on this dreadful disciplinary record if they are make progress up the table.

Baldwin serves a one-match suspension tonight, as punishment for his professional foul on Palace front-runner Paul Ifill. Team-mates Platt, Dean Gerken, Matthew Connolly and Teddy Sheringham have already completed bans this season.

The defence has been manager Geraint Williams' main headache all campaign. In fact, before last night's round of fixtures only Southampton (33) had conceded more goals than the U's (29).

Hungarian international Bela Balogh looked uncomfortable at the heart of the defence against Palace, so Williams has some difficult choices to make. Connolly appeared as a substitute, following Baldwin's early departure, and the Arsenal loanee will probably start at Molineux.

Ex-Celtic man Adam Virgo is also pushing for a return to the side, having featured at the back for the U's in six games from the middle of September.

However, Virgo has not made an appearance since a brief outing as a substitute in the 1-0 defeat at Coventry City at the end of October, and was not even in the 16-man squad on Saturday.

Duguid is gunning for a better start tonight - the U's were already one-down before Baldwin's eighth minute red card.

“We have started off poorly in several games, and we must improve on that. It's very frustrating to lose, especially when you can't get going in games,” continued Duguid.

“We've been making too many silly mistakes. I couldn't believe what was happening against Crystal Palace!

“However, we looked the better side once we had got our shape. It didn't look like 10 versus 11 in the second-half, and I was gutted to lose. We let ourselves down with the errors, but we were still unlucky to lose.

“However, we can't keep saying that we've been unlucky. We'll be in a lot of trouble if we keep harping on about our bad luck. We have to deal with it, and cut out the mistakes that are costing us in games.

“We were still creating lots of chances while down to 10 men against Palace, so that's a positive sign,” added Duguid.

Manager Williams hinted that he might make changes to his side, after the heat of battle against Palace. One is enforced, with Baldwin's suspension, but he could make further alterations.

Recalling Teddy Sheringham to the starting line-up is one such option, even though the 41-year-old has not started a game since the middle of September. In fact, he has only made four brief appearances as a substitute in the last 10 weeks.

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