U's snap up Thorpe
PROMOTION-chasing Colchester United have increased their goal scoring options by signing experienced striker Tony Thorpe until the end of the season.Former Luton and Bristol City front-runner Thorpe, who was a team-mate of Jamie Cureton's at Swindon Town last year, announced his arrival at Layer Road with the winning goal as the U's Reserves' beat Dagenham and Redbridge 1-0 in yesterday afternoon's friendly fixture.
By Carl Marston
PROMOTION-chasing Colchester United have increased their goal scoring options by signing experienced striker Tony Thorpe until the end of the season.
Former Luton and Bristol City front-runner Thorpe, who was a team-mate of Jamie Cureton's at Swindon Town last year, announced his arrival at Layer Road with the winning goal as the U's Reserves' beat Dagenham and Redbridge 1-0 in yesterday afternoon's friendly fixture.
High-flying Colchester have cover in most positions, although their strike-force options were beginning to look a little limited, following Cureton's return to Swindon after his loan spell, and Richard Garcia's unlucky run of injuries.
Manager Phil Parkinson has still not ruled out the possibility of re-signing Cureton later this season, although he has decided to act now and secure the services of a proven goalscorer - Thorpe has been snapped up a free transfer.
“I never say never, but I could not afford to just wait and wait and wait, with regards Jamie Cureton, and then miss out on signing Tony Thorpe,” revealed Parkinson last night.
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“The simple fact is that Iffy Onuora (Swindon manager) is trying to get strikers in, but there is a possibility that Rory Fallon might move on, and I see that another of their strikers, Christian Roberts, has just been admitted to a clinic with an alcohol problem (Sporting Chance Clinic).
“I've decided to act now. Tony (Thorpe) is a proven goalscorer at this level, and we needed cover in this department. He's signed a short-term contract until the end of the season.”
Leicester-born Thorpe was a trainee at his home-town club before moving to Luton as an 18-year-old. He has scored an impressive 164 goals in 328 senior appearances during his long career.
The 31-year-old scored 50 league goals in just 120 outings for Luton, before signing for Fulham in an £800,000 deal in early 1998. Just four months later he was on the move again, this time to Bristol City for £1m.
Thorpe proved just as lethal at Ashton Gate, netting 50 goals in 128 league appearances for the Robins. Four years later and he returned to Luton on a free-transfer, again scoring at a rate of a goal every two games - 19 goals in 36 games.
He signed for QPR during the summer of 2003, initially enjoying some similar success until injuries began to disrupt his form. A move to Swindon for the start of this season did not really work out, but Parkinson is convinced that the livewire striker can regain his touch at Layer Road.
Parkinson continued: “We just have to get Tony up to speed now, and get him used to playing football again.
“It didn't work out for him at Swindon. He was commuting from a long way away, and it was difficult for him. Yet he's a terrific goalscorer, and I just feel that we can do for Tony what we managed for Jamie Cureton. We got Jamie match-fit and he started scoring lots of goals.”