Ward hints at new deal to come for Karl Duguid
COLCHESTER United boss John Ward has predicted that club stalwart Karl Duguid will continue to don a U’s shirt for a few more seasons yet.
Flying winger Duguid might be aged 33, and so is approaching the twilight of his career, but he has enjoyed a new lease of life over the last couple of months.
Duguid is on the brink of celebrating his 400th league appearance for the club, and indeed was all set to reach that milestone last weekend.
His big day was scuppered, however, by the postponement of Saturday’s home game against promotion-chasing Sheffield United, due to a frozen pitch.
Instead, the versatile Duguid, who graduated from the U’s youth team in 1995, should celebrate his 400th league game for the club at Walsall next Saturday.
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Duguid finally left the U’s in the summer of 2008, to join Plymouth, ironically at the same time as the club left Layer Road to begin a new era at the Weston Homes Community Stadium.
But after a three-year stint with the Pilgrims, Duguid returned to his beloved Colchester, initially just to train with his old team to get match-fit.
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Ward was so impressed that he eventually offered him a contract, for this one season, but the U’s boss has hinted that a new deal might be on the table.
“If I can get another two or three years out of Karl, then that would be great,” revealed Ward.
“But I’m sure he’ll want a bit more than that.
“He is not only a good player, but he also works extremely hard for the team.
“He is as fit and as bright as any player I have in the dressing room.
“Players like Karl, Kemi (Izzet) and Martin (Rowlands) are all aged 30-plus, but they are in good shape.
“These days, 30-plus does not signal the end of your career; it signals prolonging it.
“We are looking at players lasting a lot longer now, because they know how to look after themselves.
“Fans appreciate players like that, especially ones that have been at the club for so long.
“They recognise that when guys like Karl and Kemi put the shirt on, they will give what they think they would give – they would all try their best because it is their football club.
“People like Karl and Kemi represent Colchester supporters. They can bond with these fans.
“It makes for a stronger dressing room.”
The U’s remain in 13th spot, and are still nine points adrift of the play-offs and 11 points clear of the relegation zone.