‘We are aiming for the top three’ – Colchester United’s Cole Kpekawa

PUBLISHED: 06:00 04 January 2018

Cole Kpekawa drives the ball forward during the 0-0 draw against Cambridge United on New Year's Day.  Picture: STEVE WALLER

Cole Kpekawa drives the ball forward during the 0-0 draw against Cambridge United on New Year's Day. Picture: STEVE WALLER

© Copyright Stephen Waller

Cole Kpekawa has had to bide his time, waiting for a rare chance to break into the Colchester United starting line-up.

The 21-year-old ex QPR trainee has been behind the likes of Tom Eastman, Frankie Kent, Ryan Inniss and even Cameron James in the pecking order of centre-halves at the Weston Homes Community Stadium.

But Inniss’ recent absence due to a shoulder injury, and boss John McGreal’s decision to revert to a three-man central defence against Cambridge United on New Year’s Day, enabled Kpekawa to get the nod.

And he did not disappoint, even though the U’s were held to a goalless home draw by Cambridge to lose a little ground in the League Two promotion race.

Going into this Saturday’s home match against Cheltenham Town, McGreal’s men are just one point and one place off the top.

“I’m glad to be back in the team, getting some minutes under my belt, that’s what I need right now,” enthused Kpewaka.

“I need to keep working hard. Things were not really going my way. I wasn’t really getting a chance, but now the gaffer has given me this chance and I think I did OK (against Cambridge).

“But I have to keep it going.

“It’s been difficult to break into a successful team. There was nothing I could do except train hard and wait for my chance.

“I thought we were unlucky against Cambridge, but it was good to keep a clean-sheet.

“We had to dig in, because they came out strongly in the second half. They went long ball and kept us on the back foot for a while, but we dealt with it easily.

“Hopefully I can now get some more minutes and kick on. I want to keep my place, by playing well.”

Kpekawa is eying up automatic promotion for the U’s this season, having signed a permanent one-year deal last summer.

“Winning promotion is everyone’s aim at the club, “ continued Kpewaka, who made only his fifth league appearance of the season, against Cambridge.

“We are aiming for the top three – that’s what we are going for – the play-offs are the bare minimum.

“And we are not far off that top three. All we were missing against Cambridge was a goal, otherwise we play well.”

The U’s have lost just two of their last 17 matches, and one of their last 13.

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