JOHN White says the memorable experiences he had during Colchester United’s historic promotion-winning season have stood him in good stead for the rest of his career.

White, 32, will be reunited with his all-conquering 2005-06 U’s team-mates tonight when they take on a Southend United squad from the same season in the Sid Bloomfield Trophy charity match at Roots Hall, in aid of Havens Hospices.

Phil Parkinson, the man who led Colchester to League One runners-up spot this season, will take change of the U’s squad once again against the Shrimpers’ title-winning side of that year.

And White, who now plays for Southend and has just been offered a new contract by the League One club, says being part of the U’s promotion-winning squad was a special time.

“That season we had has helped my career no end,” said White, who made 41 appearances for Colchester during the 2005-06 campaign.

“To have those kind of experiences can only stand you in good stead for what’s to come.

“Since then, I’ve had the promotion with Southend as well and it gave me that little bit of extra experience which is invaluable.

“We have a WhatsApp group going which started when the squads were announced and it’s like we’ve never been away!

“It’s great to have that camaraderie back and it’s testament to how close we were as a squad that we’ve picked up where we left off.

“You don’t get too many squads where you’re able to just pick it up like you’ve not been away from each other.

“It doesn’t come around very often and it makes you value how special it was.

“It wasn’t just a team that did well – it was a team that did really well.”

White is unlikely to be on the pitch for long tonight as he is due to undergo surgery on a broken arm next week.

However, he wants to still play his part, as the successful Colchester and Southend teams from yesteryear lock swords again.

He said: “I wasn’t going to miss this one!

“I’ve been looking forward to it for quite a while and I was gutted when I realised I couldn’t be involved but I’d like to play some part on the night.

“It’s brilliant and everyone’s really looking forward to it.

“It’s nice to get all of the boys back together.

“The memories of that day at Yeovil feel like yesterday – I can still see us in the changing room and being with the fans on the pitch.

“It’ll be an interesting one for me and I think a few people are a bit shocked that I’ll be at Roots Hall wearing a Colchester shirt on the night!

“Going back into that away dressing room will be different and being in a Colchester shirt again will be strange after all these years!

“But the game is about the two promotion sides from 2006 and that’s what it’s about.

“I’ve been at Southend for six years now but both clubs are extremely close to my heart.

“The bottom line is the charity – that’s the main reason that everyone is giving up their time, some of whom are travelling a long way, to get there.”

Prices for tonight’s match, which kicks off at 7.30pm, have been set at £5 adults and £1 concessions - tickets are available on the night.

Colchester United: Cousins, Baldwin, Elokobi, Brown, Halford, Stockley, White, Richards, Duguid, Danns, Watson, Jackson, McLeod, Yeates, Iwelumo, Fagan, Williams, Hughes and Simmonds (auction winner). Management: Parkinson and Izzet.

Southend United: Flahavan, Jupp, Hunt, Edwards, Barrett, Wilson, Bentley, Guttridge, Maher, Gower, Bradbury, Gray, Eastwood, Eastwood junior and Ali (auction winner). Management: Tilson and Brush.