LIFE must feel a bit like it has come full circle for Colchester United defender Luke Chambers as he prepares to face his former club, this weekend.

As a blossoming teenager at his local club Northampton Town in the mid 2000s, the centre-back was part of a three-man defence in a team pushing for promotion from League Two.

Fast forward 15 years or so - and more than 700 career appearances later - and the now vastly-experienced defender is part of a similar defensive set-up at the U's, who have lofty aspirations of their own under Hayden Mullins.

Chambers, 35, is preparing to face his former club tomorrow when Colchester host Northampton, at the JobServe Community Stadium.

And having progressed through the academy with the Cobblers before going on to skipper them and help them secure promotion, the Kettering-born defender says he only has good memories of his old club.

"Northampton is where I started and it'll be nice to see a few familiar faces," said Chambers, who tomorrow will come up against his former Northampton and Nottingham Forest boss Colin Calderwood, who is now assistant manager of the Cobblers.

"They've always done things right ever since I was there, 18 or 19 years ago.

"They're a good club; I wouldn't say that they're too dissimilar to where we're at, at the moment.

"We've got aspirations of being up at the right end of the table and they will have, as well.

“When I started at Northampton and we got promoted, I played middle of the three in League Two.

“That was an enjoyable time – I had Sean Dyche right beside me so he was one to learn off.

"We know it's going to be a difficult game and they've had players there last season who have played in League One and they'll be desperate to get back there, next year.

“Being there definitely gave me the right grounding.


Experience - Luke Chambers in action for Colchester United Picture: PA WIRE

“I think it was probably a similar situation I find myself in here now, where I was a young player and there was a hell of a lot of experienced players that we brought in who had had success and had had very good careers.

“I was surrounded by the likes of Ian Taylor from Aston Villa, Eoin Jess who was a Scottish international, Paul (Martin) Smith who scored loads and loads of goals in his career, Marco Gabbiadini.

“I was walking into a dressing room thinking ‘wow, look at the careers they’ve had’.

“That set me off on the right footing and you can only learn from those players.

“I had some good managers and good coaches there and thankfully, I’ve had the career I’ve had so it’s something I’ll always be thankful for.

“It’s where my family and my wife and her family are from, so it’s always an area we end up going back to visit.

“I was 17 when I made my debut there and then I went onto play 120-130 games for the club.

“We had good success there and it set me up for the rest of my career.

“I’ve only got nice things and positive things to say about the club."


Colchester will be looking to build on two encouraging performances with a win, this weekend.

The U's followed up their creditable opening-day draw at Carlisle United with an impressive midweek display at Championship outfit Birmingham City, in the Carabao Cup.

Colchester are preparing for their first home game of the new campaign and Chambers is looking forward to it.

"We've had a few home games in pre-season which we enjoyed against difficult opposition," said the former Ipswich Town stalwart.

"It'll be a tough game again and straight into the fire again, against Northampton who have had a good start to the season.

"We're looking for our first win at the weekend but there's lots of things that we've done and we've worked on that we've seen come to fruition in the games.

"If we can keep doing that, keep doing what the gaffer's asked, I think we'll have more success than not.

"Performances have been encouraging.

"To start the league campaign with a draw away at Carlisle was always going to be a positive result however way you want to look at it.

"We had lots of positives in the game and we're just looking forward to ticking as many games off as quickly as we can, because we feel that we're in a good place as a group, the manager and the staff.

"We're all in the same direction, so long may that continue.

"The boys are buying into it - we've got a formation that can be really solid defensively but also add quite a lot going forward.

"We've had our chances and opportunities.


"Sham (George) had a tremendous game for us last weekend and made some big saves.

"But we probably contributed to our own problems there; we weren't particularly cut open, they were breaks from corners that we can tidy up on."

Chambers is available again this weekend having missed the Birmingham cup defeat with a sickness bug.

He added: "I've been doing it for nearly 20 years and it's probably only the second time I've missed a game through illness.

"The boys said I didn't fancy the trip to Birmingham but I'd always proved that I was on the bus for Carlisle!

"It was a 24-hour thing and unfortunately, it came on the day of the game.

"But I'm ready to go if needed, on Saturday."