Eastman happy to fight for his U’s place

PUBLISHED: 11:45 08 September 2018 | UPDATED: 11:45 08 September 2018

Tom Eastman hits the bar with this terrific left-footed shot during the 0-0 draw at Notts County on the opening day of the season. Picture: RICHARD BLAXALL

Tom Eastman hits the bar with this terrific left-footed shot during the 0-0 draw at Notts County on the opening day of the season. Picture: RICHARD BLAXALL

Archant

Tom Eastman is so used to being one of the first names on the Colchester United team-sheet, over the last five years, that it must have felt a little weird to have spent most of the first month of this campaign warming the substitutes’ bench.

Tom Eastman, closing in on 300 senior appearances for Colchester United. Picture: RICHARD BLAXALLTom Eastman, closing in on 300 senior appearances for Colchester United. Picture: RICHARD BLAXALL

But Eastman has had few complaints, with the team doing so well on the pitch, and he was finally back in the starting line-up for last weekend’s terrific 3-1 victory at Cheltenham.

The 26-year-old looks odds-on to retain his place this afternoon, away at newly-promoted Tranmere Rovers.

“I’ve had to fight for my place this season,” explained Eastman.

“I played in the first match (0-0 draw at Notts County), but was frustrated to have then been out of the team.

“But I can’t complain too much, because the team has been playing well.

“We’ve had a solid start. We’re fourth in the league and have started a lot better than last season.

“Ever since coming back for pre-season we have been keen to get off to a good start, because we were playing catch-up for most of last season. We want to try and push on towards the top of the table.

“We are already proving harder to be beat. The players who came in over the summer, like Harry Pell and Frank Nouble, are almost veterans in terms of the matches they have played. They have been around a lot.

“The new signings have added experience, strength and stability to the team, and fair play to the Club for bringing them in,” added Eastman.

The U’s have already collected 11 points from their first six games, as opposed to last season’s haul of seven points from six. John McGreal’s men are also unbeaten on the road, with the win at Cheltenham following on from draws at Notts County and Mansfield.

Today promises to be a big test against a Tranmere side who are unbeaten in the league at home, following promotion via the National League play-offs.

“Tranmere are a big-name club at this level. They have a lot of fans and it should be a similar sort of experience to Mansfield.

“Hopefully, I’ll be contributing this weekend, although the manager can only pick 11 players to start the match.

“People are pushing from the bench, because things can change quickly with injuries and suspensions,” added Eastman.

Eastman is closing in on 300 career games for the U’s (287 to date) since his move from Ipswich.

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