‘We are aiming for the top three’ – Colchester United’s Cole Kpekawa

Cole Kpekawa drives the ball forward during the 0-0 draw against Cambridge United on New Year's Day.

Cole Kpekawa drives the ball forward during the 0-0 draw against Cambridge United on New Year's Day. Picture: STEVE WALLER - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Cole Kpekawa has had to bide his time, waiting for a rare chance to break into the Colchester United starting line-up.

The 21-year-old ex QPR trainee has been behind the likes of Tom Eastman, Frankie Kent, Ryan Inniss and even Cameron James in the pecking order of centre-halves at the Weston Homes Community Stadium.

But Inniss’ recent absence due to a shoulder injury, and boss John McGreal’s decision to revert to a three-man central defence against Cambridge United on New Year’s Day, enabled Kpekawa to get the nod.

And he did not disappoint, even though the U’s were held to a goalless home draw by Cambridge to lose a little ground in the League Two promotion race.

Going into this Saturday’s home match against Cheltenham Town, McGreal’s men are just one point and one place off the top.

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“I’m glad to be back in the team, getting some minutes under my belt, that’s what I need right now,” enthused Kpewaka.

“I need to keep working hard. Things were not really going my way. I wasn’t really getting a chance, but now the gaffer has given me this chance and I think I did OK (against Cambridge).

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“But I have to keep it going.

“It’s been difficult to break into a successful team. There was nothing I could do except train hard and wait for my chance.

“I thought we were unlucky against Cambridge, but it was good to keep a clean-sheet.

“We had to dig in, because they came out strongly in the second half. They went long ball and kept us on the back foot for a while, but we dealt with it easily.

“Hopefully I can now get some more minutes and kick on. I want to keep my place, by playing well.”

Kpekawa is eying up automatic promotion for the U’s this season, having signed a permanent one-year deal last summer.

“Winning promotion is everyone’s aim at the club, “ continued Kpewaka, who made only his fifth league appearance of the season, against Cambridge.

“We are aiming for the top three – that’s what we are going for – the play-offs are the bare minimum.

“And we are not far off that top three. All we were missing against Cambridge was a goal, otherwise we play well.”

The U’s have lost just two of their last 17 matches, and one of their last 13.

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