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Colchester connections bode well for Dele!

Posted on 28 January 2016  - 14:50

He scored the winning goal for MK Dons at Colchester United last season whilst injured, netted a screamer in the reverse fixture and then got promoted automatically thanks to Colchester’s result on the last day – so it’s no wonder Dele Alli has fond recollections of our opponents in the FA Cup this weekend!

Dele celebrates after winning promotion to the Championship with MK Dons last MayDele during his MK Dons days

A key figure in the MK side that secured elevation from League One into the Championship last term, Dele knows all about the threats posed by Colchester ahead of our trip to the Weston Homes Community Stadium in the fourth round of the world’s most famous cup competition.

And he’s hoping to use that familiarity to our advantage come 12.45pm on Saturday, while at the same time drawing inspiration from his previous encounters with the Essex club.

Reflecting on his most recent visit to Colchester’s ground, in which he scored to give MK Dons a 1-0 win last February, Dele said: “I remember it really well because that was the game where I got injured!

“I hurt my ankle in about the 25th minute but I tried to play on limping around and stuff. I scored the goal just before half-time – I think it was from a set-piece, we had a deep cross, someone headed it out, one of the other players knocked it back in and I just slotted it in – but after half-time I had to come off because of my ankle. I couldn’t play on any more unfortunately and I ended up being out for eight weeks.

“It’s a funny story actually because one of my best friends, George Williams, had just signed on loan for MK as well and it was the first game we got to play alongside each other. We thought we’d get to play a few games together but I got injured in that match and he then got injured just before I came back so we only got to play just over a half together!”

Also on target in a 6-0 win for MK in the reverse fixture in November, 2014, Dele remembers being grateful to Colchester for beating Preston North End 1-0 on the last day of last season in League One – a result which, combined with the Dons’ 5-1 win over Yeovil Town, saw MK automatically promoted to the Championship in dramatic fashion!

“When I was at MK, Colchester beat the team that was second on the last day of the season (Preston) which allowed us to go second and get promoted, so I’ve got mixed emotions about them really!” he explained.

“It’s going to be a hard place for us to go, though, and they’re not going to make it easy for us. We’ve got a lot of experienced players here and although we’re a young team, we’ve got a few individuals who have been out on loan in the Football League and they’ll know as well that it’s not an easy environment to play in.

“I’ve obviously had a lot of experience of playing teams in League One and it’s a great league with a lot of good young players that are looking to make their mark and looking for a chance to go higher up, but we’ll all speak before the game and discuss things.

“I was watching last season when we played Sheffield United in the Capital One Cup so the boys who played in that game know what teams at that level are capable of and it’s really important that we don’t go there and think it’s going to be an easy win for us. Colchester are a tough team to play against but we’re in good form at the moment so we’ll go there, try to play how we usually play and try to get the win.”