EV­ER­GREEN ACE

Colch­ester United’s vet­eran for­ward Chris Porter still has plenty to of­fer

The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By Jack Miller

DUR­ING a two-month in­jury lay-off, Chris Porter turned 33 and saw Colch­ester United turn their for­tunes around with­out him lead­ing the line. Re­lief

and play­ing 89 min­utes in the tri­umph against Chel­tenham on Jan­uary 2.

Those seven goals ahead of yes­ter­day’s clash with Carlisle mean Porter has al­ready matched his tally of the pre­vi­ous two sea­sons for the U’s. in­jury so it was an an­noy­ing time to get it,” said Porter, who has played in the Scot­tish Premier League with Mother­well.

“But I’m very happy to be back. It def­i­nitely felt good to get some min­utes un­der my belt and then a full game.

“The sooner you get a goal af­ter a lay-off the bet­ter; if it’s a few games be­fore you get one it can build up a bit of pres­sure. So it was nice to get on the score­sheet again and a bit of a re­lief.

“I had a lot of re­hab, not

You could have ex­cused the vet­eran striker for think­ing that he was near­ing the end of a long ca­reer, but now he is back the No.9 in­sists that couldn’t be fur­ther from the truth.

Porter failed to play be­tween Oc­to­ber 30 and Christ­mas due to a nig­gling ham­string in­jury, re­turn­ing to play the fi­nal nine min­utes of a 1-0 vic­tory at Lu­ton on Box­ing Day.

But just five days later Porter came off the bench at half-time to score his sev­enth goal of the sea­son in a 4-2 win at Steve­nage, be­fore start­ing And as he slips down the foot­balling pyra­mid – hav­ing played for Derby in the Cham­pi­onship in 2008 be­fore mov­ing to League One Sh­effield in 2011 and then suf­fer­ing rel­e­ga­tion with Colch­ester last term – Porter is adamant he still has plenty more to give. “It was a frus­trat­ing seven or eight weeks re­ally. Ob­vi­ously I was do­ing quite well be­fore I got the

Un­lucky

men headed into this week­end’s one place and two points off a play-off spot.

Porter be­lieves now is the time to add a pro­mo­tion to his CV for a ca­reer that has so far spanned 14 years,

“The turn­around has been great, but even when we went on that bad run we were play­ing some pretty good stuff,” he added. many days off and I was in the gym a lot. That’s all you can do re­ally,. “The thing that re­ally sorted me out were the ther­apy in­jec­tions I had in Le­ices­ter, they were what made the big­gest dif­fer­ence, as well as a lot of stretch­ing and strength­en­ing. “But there wasn’t a great deal I could do un­til the pain went away, and the in­jec­tions were what did that. They’re not a tem­po­rary pain re­lief. They’ve hope­fully stopped the cause, so it should keep me pain-free. “I feel as fit as I have done through­out my ca­reer. There’s no rea­son why I can’t keep play­ing at this level or even higher for a few years yet.” While he was on the side­lines, Colch­ester went from a team that had not won in 13 games to a side that went seven un­beaten ahead of yes­ter­day’s visit of the Cum­bri­ans. Porter ar­rived just in time to help the U’s to vic­to­ries against Lu­ton, Steve­nage and Chel­tenham as John McGreal’s

“We were un­lucky not to get any wins in those ten or so games; we played some teams off the park and weren’t get­ting the rub of the green.

“It doesn’t sur­prise me that we’ve turned it around, but now we have there’s a much bet­ter at­mos­phere.

“We’re over half­way through the sea­son and we’ve played ev­ery team in the league. We hon­estly don’t feel there is any­one to be fear­ful of.

“The next cou­ple of months are cru­cial in terms of pro­mo­tion. There’s a bit of a gap be­tween us and the top three, but there’s no rea­son we can’t close it.”

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Images

TAR­GET MAN: Colch­ester United’s Chris Porter has bags of ex­pe­ri­ence

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