We've seen the light!

COLCHESTER United have a brand new stadium in the pipeline, but tomorrow's hosts Sunderland already have an impressive ground, of a Premiership standard.

By Carl Marston

COLCHESTER United have a brand new stadium in the pipeline, but tomorrow's hosts Sunderland already have an impressive ground, of a Premiership standard.

Most of the U's squad will be visiting the Stadium of Light for the first time this weekend, including their much-travelled target-man, Chris Iwelumo.

The big Scotsman, who has played in England, Scotland, Denmark and Germany during his career, is hoping to silence the Sunderland faithful with a return-to-form on Wearside.

“I've never played at Sunderland before. It looks a fantastic place on TV, but we're getting used to these grounds now,” explained Iwelumo last night.

“We lost at Leeds (3-0) last weekend, due to a poor all-round display. We hadn't played that badly before this season, but hopefully it will only be a blip. You can't expect to play well for all 46 league games.

Most Read

“The confidence is still there, and we want to bounce back at Sunderland. It's a difficult place to go, but we have proved already that we can hold our own in this division,” added Iwelumo.

The Championship table is very condensed this season, with very few points separating the bulk of teams. In fact, only 10 points stand between the final play-off place and the relegation zone. The U's are currently in 11th spot, two points adrift of the top six and eight points clear of the bottom three.

“It's very tight. We went on the fantastic unbeaten run, while Hull were losing every week. But I now see that Hull are only eight points behind us,” added Iwelumo.

“Despite the defeat at Leeds, all the lads are buzzing, not least because of the news about the new stadium. It's great to think that the club will be moving to a new ground by 2008.

“When I first signed for the club, Phil Parkinson told me that the new ground was in progress. But then Karl Duguid told me that when he first signed a professional contract, more than 10 years ago, they told him the same thing!

“At least something's been done about it now. We already have a terrific fan-base, but we want to try and fill the new stadium. We are getting excellent support for all our away games, and we want that to carry on,” added Iwelumo.

Former Stoke and Brighton striker Iwelumo was last season's leading scorer with 19 goals. He has scored four to date this campaign, although he's only hit the target once in the last nine games.

The U's are set move to a new 10,000 all-seater Community Stadium by the spring of 2008, after councillors unanimously agreed to bankroll the construction of the new venue following a meeting at Moot Hall on Monday night.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter