Vincent ready to fill Antonio’s boots

ASHLEY Vincent is eager to make up for “lost time” during the final two thirds of this season.

ASHLEY Vincent is eager to make up for “lost time” during the final two thirds of this season.

Cruelly sidelined at the end of the first week of the new campaign due to a medial ligament injury, Colchester United winger Vincent is ready to step into the sizeable boots of Michail Antonio.

Short-term replacement Antonio has made a big impression during his three-month loan stay from Reading, but the 21-year-old will play his final game for the U’s at Tranmere Rovers tomorrow, before returning to the Madejski Stadium.

Natural wide-man Vincent has appeared as a substitute in the U’s last two games, against Bournemouth and Notts County, so is ready to regain his starting berth over the coming weeks.

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“I’m ready to go and I’m ready to play games,” insisted Vincent yesterday.

“It’s been a bit frustrating for me during the last eight weeks, not being able to play.

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“I felt fit and sharp all summer, and I was feeling like I was getting to the top of my game really early on, in that first week of the season.

“It was disappointing to get injured, but that is the territory that goes with being a footballer. I’ve been focusing on getting fit again, and back to where I was before the injury.

“Now I’m looking to make up for lost time. I’m 26 and I want to play games, week in week out.”

Having impressed in the opening two fixtures at Preston (a 4-2 win) and Wycombe (penalty shoot-out defeat in the Carling Cup), Vincent then scored in the U’s first home game, a 1-1 draw against Wycombe, this time in the league.

However, the ex-Cheltenham front-runner was stretchered off just before half-time in that game with a knee injury, prompting manager John Ward to sign fellow winger Antonio on loan from Reading.

“Michail has been really good for the squad, and he’s got his goals,” admitted Vincent.

“Ideally, I think the manager would have liked to have kept him, whether I’m fit or not, because that means competition for places.”

Vincent will again be looking to feature at Tranmere tomorrow, a club who have been the surprise packages of League One. Rovers are seventh, three points clear of the 12th-placed U’s.

“Saturday will be a great gauge for us,” he said.

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