Goal-hungry Szmodics admits Norris has been a ‘massive miss’ for U’s

PUBLISHED: 06:00 23 November 2018

Sammie Szmodics celebrates as the U's beat then-leaders Lincoln City, a month ago. Picture: STEVE WALLER

Sammie Szmodics celebrates as the U's beat then-leaders Lincoln City, a month ago. Picture: STEVE WALLER

© Copyright Stephen Waller

Sammie Szmodics has contributed six goals already this season, but Colchester United’s talisman attacker has admitted that the loss of leading scorer Luke Norris has been a big blow to the Essex club.

Sammie Szmodics looks to get past Accrington defender Michael Ihiekwe during the FA Cup defeat at the Crown Ground from a fortnight ago. Picture: RICHARD BLAXALLSammie Szmodics looks to get past Accrington defender Michael Ihiekwe during the FA Cup defeat at the Crown Ground from a fortnight ago. Picture: RICHARD BLAXALL

Szmodics is confident that the U’s can maintain their impressive home record this season, when play-off rivals Exeter City are in town tomorrow.

The U’s have the best home record in League Two, with seven wins accumulated from just nine league starts at the Jobserve Community Stadium.

But there is no doubt that Norris has been a big miss, since he was stretchered off during the U’s last home outing, and last win, a 1-0 success over Swindon Town a fortnight ago.

Since then, with Norris on the sidelines nursing a swollen ankle, the U’s have lost three matches on the trot, all on the road.

Sammie Szmodics congratulates goalscorer Frank Nouble during the 3-1 home win over Crawley. Picture: STEVE WALLERSammie Szmodics congratulates goalscorer Frank Nouble during the 3-1 home win over Crawley. Picture: STEVE WALLER

They have exited the FA Cup (1-0 defeat at Accrington Stanley, been knocked out of the Checkatrade Trophy (3-1 loss at Cambridge) and lost in the league (2-0) at Newport County last weekend.

The goals have also dried up of late, with eight-goal striker Norris out of the picture.

“It’s been a miss not having Luke Norris in the team,” admitted Szmodics, following yesterday’s training session at Florence Park, Tiptree.

“Of course it puts a bit more pressure on the rest of us to get more goals, but I’m only two or three goals behind him, so I’ve been pitching in as well.

“However, Luke is a massive miss for us, even though we do have goals all over the pitch, which I hope proves to be the case on Saturday.

“Last season, there were only two of us who reached double figures – Mikael Mandron (10 goals) and myself (13) – but the goals have been more spread around this season, with Harry Pell, for instance, already having scored four goals.

“Goals are so important, so to lose Luke Norris has been massive for us. You’ve just got to go out there and fill his boots,” added Szmodics.

Academy product Szmodics, who has been with the U’s since the age of seven, is currently enjoying a fine unbroken run in the side, having so far managed to steer clear of injuries – he has been dogged by serious problems in the past, including a long-term ankle injury and a broken leg, which disrupted his 2015-16 and 2016-17 campaigns.

But he played 40 first-team games last season, and has already scored six goals in 21 outings this season.

“It’s the longest run of games that I have really had in the team,” enthused Szmodics.

“I had a sore hamstring, a couple of weeks ago, but otherwise I have been feeling fit and healthy and haven’t had any serious injuries.

“I think that comes down to making sure that I look after my body more, and knowing more about my body and what it can take, even though I’m still only 23!

“When I was younger, I thought I could just got out there and play the full 90 minutes, and then assume that I would be fine.

“But now I take my recovery time far more seriously, with the eating and the sleeping. I am more focused on the recovery side now.”

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