Virgo determined to take his chance

ADAM Virgo is determined to take his chance with both hands as he prepares to make his full debut for Colchester United at Southampton tonight.Virgo is set to be handed his first start for the U's, since his loan move from Celtic, as a replacement for the suspended Matthew Connolly.

By Carl Marston

ADAM Virgo is determined to take his chance with both hands as he prepares to make his full debut for Colchester United at Southampton tonight.

Virgo is set to be handed his first start for the U's, since his loan move from Celtic, as a replacement for the suspended Matthew Connolly.

The former Brighton man has so far had to be content with four appearances as a second-half substitute, the first three of them as an emergency striker.


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But when Connolly was sent off for a professional foul on ex-U's target man Chris Iwelumo, during Saturday's 2-2 draw against Charlton, an eager Virgo was introduced as a 57th-minute substitute to fill Connolly's role in central defence.

“When the gaffer brought me to Colchester, he told me that I was here to play as a striker to begin with,” revealed Virgo last night.

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“I scored against Burnley (3-2 defeat), and I'm happy to play anywhere, but I still see myself foremost as a centre-half rather than a striker. Now it's up to me to take my chance.

“We were short of strikers when I first arrived, with Clive (Platt) being suspended and Jamie (Guy) being injured. But we're back to strength up front now.

“I feel that I've waited patiently on the bench for this chance. I was hoping something might come along to give me an opportunity to play in defence, and I want to make the most of it at Southampton.

“I hope that I'm not just going to get one game. I'd like to get a run of games to show what I can do as a centre-half,” added Virgo.

It has been an up-and-down start to the campaign for Colchester. On the plus side, the U's have lost just one of their first five league games, and have bagged 11 goals in those five fixtures - more than any other Championship club up until last night's round of matches.

Furthermore, an on-fire Kevin Lisbie has scored three goals in his last three matches, all of them with deft headers, while Teddy Sheringham (two) and Clive Platt (one) have also been on target, to add to a total of three contributed by wingers Mark Yeates (two) and Kevin McLeod (one).

Manager Geraint Williams has to make a choice in attack tonight. He might consider resting Sheringham for this midweek trip to the south coast, and recall Platt, who is feeling fresh after a recent three-match ban. However, Sheringham was bang in form against Charlton, setting up the opening goal with a delightful pass through for Yeates.

The goals conceded column does not make for such pleasant reading, which is why United have drawn three of their five games. The red cards to keeper Dean Gerken and defender Connolly have also not helped their cause.

Virgo continued: “We have to focus more at the other end, and stop conceding such sloppy goals. The gaffer has been talking to us about that, and we have seen the videos, but there's only so much he can do.

“We've let it slip in a few of the games, especially against Barnsley (2-2 draw), whom we should have beaten. It's a case of getting the balance right.

“I'm not just talking about the back four. It's the whole team. It's down to us, and we can look back with confidence at our last away game (3-0 win at Preston on August 25), when we kept a clean sheet. I don't think that Preston are the force they've been over the last four or five seasons, but Deepdale is still a difficult place to visit.

“Southampton will be smarting after losing 3-2 to Watford on Sunday. I watched that game on TV. We certainly have nothing to fear, and we know that we are capable of scoring the goals to get us the three points,” concluded Virgo.

Tonight's squads

SOUTHAMPTON: Davis, Vignal, Wright, Thomas, Makin, Skacel, Viafara, Safri, Surman, Rasiak, John, Dyer, Saganowski, Ostlund, Wright-Phillips, Idiakez, Hammill, Licka, Bialkowski (gk).

COLCHESTER UNITED: Gerken, Duguid, Baldwin, Virgo, Elokobi, Yeates, Izzet, Jackson, McLeod, Sheringham, Lisbie, Platt, Balogh, Guy, White, Guttridge, Granville, Davison (gk).

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