Colchester United midfielder Harry Pell's weekly column

The gaffer is looking after me

TOUCH wood, there’s some good news coming soon on the fitness front.

Needless to say, I’m looking forward to getting back from my hamstring injury.

It’s a very frustrating time for me personally, not being able to help the boys and I’m chomping at the bit to return.

In a way, it’s like I’ve had a mini break but that’s not to say it’s been easy – in fact, it’s been blooming hard!

I have a lot of respect for the gaffer because he’s taking care of my situation in the correct way.

The way my character is, I’d have been on the pitch two weeks ago.

I had a scan last week and it found fluid on my hamstring – that was the worry.

The gaffer, John McGreal, took me off everything and pulled me back to protect me.

I have a lot of respect for him for the way he’s looked after me.

I know that it would mean season over for me if I came back and broke down again.

Moving on

IT was a very disappointing result against Forest Green Rovers, on Tuesday night.

But we need to get over it quickly because the games are coming thick and fast and we have another very important match at Exeter City, at the weekend.

We’re entering a crucial period of the season and we need to move on quickly.

We need everyone to get behind us – we need the fans now more than ever, with nine games to go.

It’s very important that they continue to turn up in their numbers and give us a final push.

We’ve shown this season that we can bounce back quickly from disappointments and we need to do the same again, this weekend.

That’s the reason that we are where we are, because of the way we respond to negative results.

We know that we did not meet our usual high standards against Forest Green.

They came and did an absolute professional job on us.

I think it was clear that they set out to frustrate us from minute one.

We have a reputation now for being able to beat anyone in our division and that’s why there’s frustration after a result like that.

We genuinely believe that we’re the best team in our division.

There’s not a game that we go into where we don’t feel confident of winning.

It’s just that lack of consistency at the moment that’s a pain in the backside.

As a group and a club we have standards on the pitch and I don’t think we met them.

There are no excuses but we have a young team and the club structure is based on bringing young players through.

We know the talent that we have but it’s tough for younger pros to be consistent week in, week out.

If we were more consistent in our performances as a team, then I’m sure we would be in the top three right now.

This time of year, most teams have a lot to play for and I think that will be the case for the vast majority of our opponents, from now until the end of the season.

But I can’t think of anything worse than being a mid-table team and we’ll relish the challenge.

Pep's the best

WHAT can I say about this Manchester City side that hasn’t already been said – they’re just a fantastic outfit.

I think Pep Guardiola is the best manager in the world.

I think he could get any player he wants, anywhere in the world.

And I think it’s frightening to think of the talent that they have in the squad.

I honestly think the quadruple is on.

Pep has played it down publically but I think in the back of his head, he’ll think that it’s possible, too.

By the way, how amazing was Cristiano Ronaldo for Juventus in the Champions League, on Tuesday night?

You can never write him off – he’s 34 years old and another player who has an absolute winning mentality.

Grealish deserves praise

IT was shocking to see what happened to Aston Villa midfielder Jack Grealish on Sunday, after a Birmingham City fan got on the pitch and attacked him.

I don’t think anyone could believe what they were seeing.

I’ll be honest, if I were in that situation and someone came on and did that to me, I don’t think I could be responsible for my actions.

I have massive respect for Jack for the way that he dealt with the situation and for all of the negative press that we’ve seen about him over the years, I think he should have been on the back pages for at least three days running after that because he’s a credit to both Aston Villa Football Club and himself for reacting in the way he did.

I’m all up for getting absolutely ripped apart at games in terms of songs being sung about me and verbal and there’s a few stadiums I go to where I get a bit of grief.

I’ve had it for years at Grimsby and it’s banter but there’s definitely a line that you don’t cross.

Players need to be protected and they need to clamp down on the people who are doing this kind of thing.

I think they should be banned from watching their club for life.

More needs to be done and I’m sure it will be – hopefully some good will come from the incidents we’ve seen.

Horsing around!

IT’S been a bit like Christmas for me this week, with the Cheltenham Festival going on.

I absolutely love it and it’s one of my favourite times of the year.

I don’t regret moving to Colchester United from Cheltenham one little bit – but I do miss going round the corner and going to the festival every year, getting up first thing in the morning, putting on a suit, reading the papers, soaking up the atmosphere.

I had a bit of a disappointment though when I backed a horse on Hardline in the Arkle and it came nowhere!

The trouble is, I told all of the boys to back it too so I have to apologise to them!

It’s all part of the fun – you win some, you lose some.

There’s been some great racing but the rain has made for some dodgy results, with some of the outsiders winning.