MASSEY: U’S YOUNG SQUAD GREW UP–NOW WATCH US GO
COLCHESTER striker Gavin Massey believes the young U’s can build on their last day survival and show what they are really capable of next season.
The 20-year-old settled the U’s nerves with the first goal in their 2-0 win at Carlisle last weekend – a result which guaranteed League One status and sent Scunthorpe crashing into the basement division.
The U’s have now got a summer to rebuild after a year of upheaval that saw John Ward’s reign come to an end and his replacement Joe Dunne think about leaving in January after a club record run of nine defeats on the spin.
But club legend Dunne decided to stay and Massey is convinced there’s a bright future ahead after what they’ve been through.
“It was the best feeling winning at Carlisle and securing our safety because it had been a bit of a slog,” said Massey.
“We’ve had a lot of tough times this season and we know how big staying up is for the lads, the fans, the club and obviously for the gaffer.
“In a way it was a great experience for the younger players who were involved against Carlisle because you don’t get too many games with more pressure than that.
“Next season we can only look up from there now.
“It’s a big achievement with what is a young crop of players. We will go into next season knowing that we can kick on and produce the goods when the pressure is on.
“Relegation would have been a massive blow. The gaffer has a special relationship with the players and fans – the fans love him here.”
Massey made a permanent switch to Essex from Watford last summer after impressing Ward on loan. He has been a regular in the side, playing in 41 matches, which he says has tested him physically and mentally.
The lively frontman scored six goals after leaving the Hornets in search of first-team football and believes that playing in League One has taught him some vital lessons.
“I came here to get my career off the ground but I never thought I would play as many games as I have this season,” he added.
“I started 22 consecutive games and the manager said he has been happy with me. It’s important just to get some game time. It’s definitely not been a step backwards.
“Most young players can get games in reserve teams but this experience of playing at this level has been vital to me.
“It’s a credit to the manager who has put a lot of faith in me and last week’s goal was for him – we all know how much the club means to him.
“Next season I think the team can really push on and I want to play a big part in that and hopefully the goals will flow.”
LAST GASP: Massey’s goal helped keep Colchester up on the final day of the season to the relief of manager Joe Dunne (inset)