JOE Dunne has shown faith in Billy Clifford, and now the Colchester United loanee wants to further repay that faith to his manager.

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Earlier this week, talented midfielder Clifford confirmed the extension of his loan stay from Chelsea until the end of the season.

Certainly, the 20-year-old has not let down the U’s, since his arrival from Stamford Bridge, helping the Essex club to three wins out of the last four to escape the relegation zone, ahead of tomorrow’s trip to Sheffield United.

But Clifford predicts that there is more, and better, to come.

“It’s not been a loan spell where I’ve just been stuck on the bench,” enthused Clifford.

“So full credit to the gaffer for throwing me in. Hopefully, I can repay him.

“I feel a real part of the team, which doesn’t always happen to loan players. I felt that right from the start, coming on Friday and then playing on Saturday (2-1 home defeat to Scunthorpe).

“In fact, I feel like I’ve been here for a long time.

“The gaffer has given me a lot of minutes so far, and I am just getting my head down and developing on the pitch.

“I think I’m blossoming, because it’s just what I needed at this time in my career.”

Chelsea Academy graduate Clifford, who had not made a senior appearance before his switch to the U’s, is benefiting from his partnership with the experienced David Wright, 12 years his senior, in central midfield.

The duo were paired together for the first time, in the 2-0 home win over Walsall three weeks ago, and have quickly struck up an understanding.

“David (Wright) has been terrific, with me being so young, both on and off the pitch,” continued Clifford.

“I can learn off him, and other players as well.

“Results-wise, the team was struggling when I first came. But I saw very early on that the team had enough quality to stay up, with the gaffer’s philosophy of how he wants to play.

“We’ve got enough to get out of this difficult situation.”

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