Yallop praises U’s as O’Toole makes comeback

FORMER Ipswich Town player Frank Yallop was full of praise for Colchester United’s second string after his San Jose Earthquakes side beat them 3-0 in a friendly yesterday.

The American club are currently based in London for a pre-season tour of England prior to the start of the Major League Soccer season next month and played a U’s side behind-closed-doors at Tottenham’s Spurs Lodge venue yesterday.

Colchester midfielder John-Joe O’Toole made his long-awaited return in the match, playing an hour following 10 months out with knee ligament damage, while striker Steven Gillespie – who has missed the last three games with a hamstring problem – also played.

“Colchester had some very good players in their line up and performed well without scoring,” said Yallop, who made over 375 appearances for Town.

“We won in the end but it certainly was a good test and one that did our players the world of good.

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“We had a game at Birmingham the night before and the lads that didn’t play needed a game. It was great for us to be able to give them those match minutes and from a team perspective they got a lot out of it.

“We had a couple of traillists playing and it was good to see them both acquit themselves very well.”

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The Canadian added: “We play Leicester and an internal match before we head home. It has been a brilliant exercise for us.

“Our guys have now seen how everyone over here loves football and the intensity of feeling the fans have for it, something they don’t get back in the States.”

Reflecting on O’Toole’s comeback, Colchester development coach Richard Hall said: “It was a great relief for him to be playing again and he came off the pitch with a big smile on his face.

“He had a really big impact in the game as well and now we will look to build on that and get him involved in the next few reserve team games.”

U’s physio Tony Flynn add: “With long-term injuries they usually stiffen up during the 15 minutes at half-time, so it’s hard for them to do more than 45 in their first game.

“But with this being a friendly match we only had five minutes (at half-time) so John-Joe was able to continue and do another 10 minutes and we were pleased for him.”

– All the latest U’s news in tomorrow’s EADT.

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