Wignall backs Buckle and Dunne

FORMER Colchester United player and boss Steve Wignall believes it is time for the club to appoint a manager who cares for the club and knows what it is all about.

FORMER Colchester United player and boss Steve Wignall believes it is time for the club to appoint a manager who cares for the club and knows what it is all about.

The U’s are currently looking for their third manager in as many seasons after Paul Lambert and Aidy Boothroyd quickly moved on to Norwich and Coventry respectively.

And Wignall – the man who led the U’s to a League Two play-off victory over Torquay in 1998 – is backing two of his former players for the job.

The 55-year-old Liverpudlian believes either current Torquay manager Paul Buckle, 39, or U’s first team coach Joe Dunne, 36, would bring some much-needed stability to the Weston Homes Community Stadium.

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Wignall signed Buckle from Wycombe in 1996, the midfielder going on to make over 100 appearances for the club in three years, while the acquisition of Dunne from Gillingham in the very same year proved to be one of his best bits of business, the Irish defender going on to give the club over a decade’s worth of service both as a player and coach.

“I see those young guys as they way forward,” said Wignall, who spent seven years at the U’s as a player, a further four as a manager and still lives in the town.

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“Colchester have become the stepping stone club for aspiring managers in recent years. The chairman has been able to attract big name managers here because of the stadium and the budget he can offer, but ultimately these managers soon realise that the club still only has a solid fan base of around 3,500 and decide to move on.

“I wouldn’t point fingers at Mr Lambert and Mr Boothroyd because they’ve got to look after themselves, but Robbie Cowling might not want to get burnt again. For that reason I think it’s essential that he appoints someone who knows and cares for the club.”

Wignall has not been involved in the professional game for almost seven years and has no desire to return to the stresses of full-time management. He would, however, relish some form of involvement should Colchester go down the route of employing a less experienced manager.

“The LMA (League Managers’ Association) are trying to provide mentors for young managers and I would love to do that with Colchester, especially if it were one of my old players that gets the job,” said Wignall.

Buckle is considered one of the brightest young managers in the game having led Torquay from the Conference to the Football League and then miraculously avoiding relegation last season.

He was linked with the U’s job last time it was available, but eventually ruled himself out late on in the selection process.

Dunne is a well-respected figure at Colchester having worked his way up from youth team coach to the higher echelons of the backroom staff. He admitted to having managerial ambitions following a four game caretaker spell towards the start of the season.

Another ex-U’s player that is in the running for the vacancy is Kevin Watson. The former midfield favourite has applied for the job after leaving Luton Town.

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