Chris ready for big stage

CHRIS Iwelumo is one of the few Colchester United players who have had previous experience of playing on the big stage. As a result, there will be no last-minute nerves for him in the FA Cup fifth round at Chelsea on Sunday Leading marksman Iwelumo would love to add to his tally of 16 goals for the season, by scoring at Stamford Bridge, the home of the Premiership champions.

By Carl Marston

CHRIS Iwelumo is one of the few Colchester United players who have had previous experience of playing on the big stage.

As a result, there will be no last-minute nerves for him in the FA Cup fifth round at Chelsea on Sunday

Leading marksman Iwelumo would love to add to his tally of 16 goals for the season, by scoring at Stamford Bridge, the home of the Premiership champions.


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However, the big Scotsman is a realist and he said: “We may have a similar record to Chelsea, with only a couple of defeats in the last 20-odd matches, but they play at a different level.

“The gulf between the two clubs is massive. Of course we would love to get something out of the game, but everyone is expecting just one result.

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“We must make sure that we enjoy the day, but also that we don't let ourselves down.

“Most of the lads are very young and inexperienced. There's just a few of us older ones, like me and Wayne Brown, who have been there, and done that.

“I played against Chelsea while at Stoke City and my main memory of that game was that we held on, against a very strong team, for about 50 minutes.

“Then Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink scored and it was effectively game over,” recalled Iwelumo.

U's hit-man Iwelumo was referring to Stoke's FA Cup fifth round tie at home to Chelsea from three years ago.

Hasselbaink netted after 52 minutes, with Jesper Gronkjaer sealing a 2-0 win with a second after 76 minutes.

Since then, Chelsea have stepped up to another level. Jose Mourinho's men are poised to retain their Premiership title and they also have genuine hopes of winning the UEFA Champions League.

Whatever team Mourinho selects for this Sunday, Iwelumo and the rest of the U's squad will have no problem recognising their individual opponents.

“We see them all the time on the TV. It's not like we're up against players from Walsall or other teams whom we only see on the pitch,” said Iwelumo.

“All we can do is focus on our game and hope for a bit of lady luck.”

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