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Colchester United player Danny Collinge cannot wait to get back to helping AFC Sudbury in their promotion bid




They may not be able to take part in team training like he is but AFC Sudbury’s players have been getting a helping hand in maintaining their fitness during lockdown from Colchester United loanee Danny Collinge.

In a bid not to lose the momentum they had built up before all non-elite sport was halted due to rising Covid-19 cases, the 22-year-old has provided his team-mates with a lockdown fitness plan.

The central defender, who was in the same England Under-17 and U18 teams as Premier League winner Trent Alexander-Arnold and Everton’s Tom Davies, said: “Whilst we went through the first lockdown we had a programme that we followed provided by the sports science and conditioning guys at Colchester that really helped me maintain my fitness.

Colchester United loanee Danny Collinge in action for AFC Sudbury in the 1-0 win at Soham Town RangersPicture: Mark Westley
Colchester United loanee Danny Collinge in action for AFC Sudbury in the 1-0 win at Soham Town RangersPicture: Mark Westley

“It was a simple PDF document with pitch runs, upper body and lower body work and some mobility and core stuff, but I think it is good for the lads to have to give them a bit of help and insight from a professional League Two club.

“It was a four-week programme so it fitted in quite well with this lockdown.”

While Collinge, who is classed as an elite athlete, has been able to continue training at Colchester, the rest of the Sudbury players have been keeping in touch through video calls and group chats.

New AFC Sudbury loan signing Danny Collinge in action for Colchester United against Ipswich TownPicture: Richard Blaxhall (42638356)
New AFC Sudbury loan signing Danny Collinge in action for Colchester United against Ipswich TownPicture: Richard Blaxhall (42638356)

And with the break shortening Collinge’s opportunities to play in his loan spell, which runs until January, he would consider remaining for the rest for the season.

“For the short time that I have been there I have really enjoyed it and it is something I would definitely be open to,” said the half-Italian player – whose first name is actually Daniele – after featuring in five matches since joining early last month.

“Obviously it is disappointing the football has stopped, particularly as we had gained a lot of momentum in the last couple of weeks. We have had some really good results and put in some really good performances.”

The former MK Dons youth product, who spent four seasons in FC Stuttgart’s academy and reserve sides in Germany, has been able to quickly settle, having played in the division with league leading Maldon & Tiptree last season.

AFC Sudbury loan signing Danny Collinge is targeting his professional debut with Colchester UnitedPicture: Richard Blaxhall
AFC Sudbury loan signing Danny Collinge is targeting his professional debut with Colchester UnitedPicture: Richard Blaxhall

“I know the league well from my 16 appearances there and know it can be competitive, right from the teams from the bottom to the teams at the top,” he said.

“The experience I gained at Maldon was definitely valuable and it was successful as well so I’ve just been looking to transfer over that to Sudbury.”

Mark Morsley’s side have shot up the Pitching In Isthmian League North Division table, currently sitting second, since the loanee came in, going on a five-game unbeaten run.

But Collinge, who scored on his debut, a come-from-behind 2-2 away draw at Basildon, says with the coaching team changing and style adapting it is down to much more than his impact.

“We have adjusted the system a little bit so it becomes a bit more efficient, let’s say, in getting results and, more importantly, gaining confidence,” he said.

“From the moment I joined I saw instantly the boys have a lot of quality on the ball.

“The coaching staff quite rightly pointed out that we needed to be more difficult to play against.

“The results have just been a testament to the work of the management and the honest hard work of the players as well to not question the change in philosophy.”

Collinge knows consistency is the now the key to a successful campaign with their first game back, government approval permitting, set to be at his former loan side, third-placed Maldon & Tiptree on December 5 (3pm).

And it presents another chance for him to help his team-mates out.

“It will be a good challenge. They will be a tough opponent for anyone in the league,” he said.

“It is a fixture I am definitely looking forward to. I have got a bit of an insight so I will be able to help the team tactically.”

Read more: Morsley critical of Isthmian League's restart plan