We're up for the challenge, says Duguid

COLCHESTER United skipper Karl Duguid remains confident that the U's will overcome the setback of all the summer departures to have another good season in the Championship.

By Carl Marston

COLCHESTER United skipper Karl Duguid remains confident that the U's will overcome the setback of all the summer departures to have another good season in the Championship.

U's stalwart Duguid returned from a mini-break in Spain yesterday, adamant that manager Geraint Williams will find the new players and the new assistant necessary to build on last year's terrific showing - they finished 10th in the table.

Assistant boss Mick Harford moved to QPR last week, to become the No. 2 to John Gregory, following former U's loanee left-back Chris Barker to Loftus Road.


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Striker Chris Iwelumo is now settling in at his new club Charlton, while fellow attackers Jamie Cureton and Richard Garcia are on the look-out for new clubs.

Garcia is out of contract next week, while Cureton wants to leave despite having had a transfer request turned down.

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But Duguid is not despondent. The 29-year-old has seen it all before at Layer Road, having graduated from the youth team in the mid-1990s.

“It happens everywhere, clubs losing players at this time of year, and especially to the smaller clubs like Colchester United,” insisted Duguid last night.

“This time last year, we didn't even have a manager, so it's not that bad! We also lost key players like Liam Chilvers and Neil Danns last summer, and yet we still ended up having a great season at a higher level.

“The gaffer will be working to bring in new players I'm sure, especially up front and maybe in midfield. He will also probably be looking for a new left-back.

“But I don't foresee any problems. I'm looking forward to pre-season starting in a couple of weeks' time,” added Duguid.

Top of Williams' agenda will be finding a new No. 2, following Harford's exit, although the former England and Luton striker did not arrive at Layer Road himself until last August, after the campaign had started.

Duguid continued: “Losing Mick (Harford) is a massive disappointment, because he was terrific with the lads and was great in training.

“But we will carry on and I have every confidence for the new season.

“The backbone of the team is still together, at the heart of defence and in midfield.

“It often happens that players leave after their contracts run out.

“They take their chances elsewhere, and you can't blame them.

“Our second season in the Championship was always going to be more difficult than the first. But we are up for the challenge,” concluded Duguid.

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