Colchester United midfielder Harry Pell's weekly column

Double sessions

I DIDN’T go to our game at Swindon Town last weekend with the rest of the boys as I stayed behind and did some work, as I recover from my hamstring injury.

It’s a case of double sessions at the moment and I’m doing everything I can to get back as soon as I can.

Thankfully, there’s light at the end of the tunnel.

I’ve been working hard with our fitness coach Perry Blanchette and I’m desperate to come back.

Being out injured is the most frustrating thing and I just want to be involved again.

It’s the first time I’ve ever had a muscular injury in my whole career and it’s also a case of building the confidence up again to do things like lash the ball and do some sprinting.

Pretty vital

IT’S a massive game for us against Newport County, on Saturday.

I know their gaffer Michael Flynn and he’s done an excellent job.

I think he’s a manager who’s destined for big things.

If you look at the FA Cup runs that they’ve had and the way that they can mix their game up and cause Premier League teams major problems, it’s impressive.

They’re a very physical team and I think they will try and make the game as ugly as possible but we have to stick to the way we play and make it as pretty as possible.

If we can bring our game out, we’ve shown this season on plenty of occasions that we can cause other teams major problems.

It’ll be a case of two well-drilled teams coming up against each other and hopefully, we’ll come out on top.

We have back-to-back home games to look forward to but all of the focus is on Newport, rather than looking ahead at all to the Forest Green Rovers match next Tuesday.

I wasn’t at the Swindon game but needless to say, the lads were very frustrated with the result and how the game panned out.

As the gaffer said afterwards, we had enough quality out there to win the game but we were missing some big characters in Sammie Szmodics, Tom Lapslie and Brandon Comley.

It must be very frustrating for the gaffer and staff that three central midfielders have taken a hit and are all out at the same time – that’s pretty unheard of for any club, I think.

By the way, it’s great to see the gaffer get nominated for the League Two Manager of the Month award for February.

It’ll be great to see him win it, especially as we haven’t won any individual awards this season even though we’ve done well.

Madrid misery

WHAT a superb performance by Ajax to beat Real Madrid the way they did in the Champions League.

But I think Madrid are entering a period of transition.

Any team that loses someone as talented as Cristiano Ronaldo as Madrid did last summer is going to suffer.

I was in our car school with Tom Lapslie and Frankie Kent the other day when we were listening to talkSPORT on the radio and became engrossed in an interview with Gareth Bale’s agent, Jonathan Barnett.

He was saying how disgusted he was with the treatment he felt Bale had been receiving from the Real Madrid fans.

I think there are problems there but they are one of the biggest clubs in the world and they will come back.

This season’s Champions League is very interesting, though.

There are some really good teams left in the competition but I’m not sure who’s going to win it.

As a Chelsea fan, I’d hate to see Manchester City do the quadruple.

From a historic point of view, it would be good but I don’t want to think about it!

Balotelli the entertainer

IT was funny to see Mario Balotelli film his own goal celebration the other day.

I think it’s important to celebrate goals but I can’t imagine doing that – it’s very much a new age thing.

With Mario though, nothing surprises me!

I’ve played against him before, when Cheltenham played against Liverpool at Anfield in the FA Cup.

He’s such a character but he was great after the match.

Some of the Liverpool players came in afterwards with signed shirts and said ‘well done’.

We could not quite believe it but they had bodyguards to escort them from the stadium to the bus, a few yards away!

French fancy

DID you hear about snooker player Ronnie O’Sullivan adopting an Australian accent for an interview?

It was a bit bizarre and it reminded me of Joey Barton speaking English with a French twang after making his Marseille debut, a few years ago – that really was comedy gold!

There aren’t too many different accents in our changing room.

But I could listen to my French team-mate Mikael Mandron speak all day long!

Get well soon, Sammie

ALL of the lads at Colchester United were sad to hear that young Maldon and Tiptree player Sammie McLeod was involved in a car accident.

He’s currently in hospital after breaking his femur and on behalf of everyone at the club, I’d like to send our best wishes and wish him a very speedy recovery.