Hills pledges better times ahead at U's

CRYSTAL Palace loanee Lee Hills promises better things to come after his Colchester United debut was marked by a 2-0 defeat to Walsall on Saturday.

Carl Marston

CRYSTAL Palace loanee Lee Hills promises better things to come after his Colchester United debut was marked by a 2-0 defeat to Walsall on Saturday.

Teenage left-back Hills made his first appearance at the U's new Weston Homes Community Stadium, and he is set to enjoy a quick-fire second outing tomorrow night, this time in an international shirt for England Under-19s against Germany.

While Hills, who signed for the U's from Selhurst Park on a one-month loan deal on Friday, is looking forward to playing for his country at the Community Stadium - in front of a sell-out 10,000 crowd - he also wants to make a big impression in League One over the coming weeks.

Goals from Dwayne Mattis (16 minutes) and Michael Ricketts (62) inflicted another home defeat on Paul Lambert's men, but Hills is predicting better times ahead.

“That was my first game for three-and-a-half-weeks, so I understandably had tired legs at the end. I'm just getting back into the swing of things,” explained Hills.

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“I hadn't even played for Palace Reserves in that time, so I'm not quite fully fit at the moment.

“I've found it hard to get going this season. I injured medial ligaments before the summer, and had more problems in pre-season, so I hadn't played for a long time. I need some games.

“I think that teams are more in your face in League One. I reckon there is more quality in the Championship, but there are some quality players at Colchester.

“We've just got to start unlocking defences. I'm looking forward to playing a lot of games over the next month.

“Walsall scored twice with just about their only two attacks of the afternoon, while we couldn't nick a goal. Their second goal knocked our confidence, but I wouldn't say that the team lacks self-confidence. I trained with them on Thursday and Friday, and the atmosphere was good,” added 18-year-old Hills.

Meanwhile, U's manager Paul Lambert bemoaned his side's lack of scoring opportunities against Walsall, which culminated in a third defeat in seven matches since his appointment.

“It wasn't a fair result in terms of possession, because we had most of that, but we didn't create enough chances,” confessed Lambert.

“As the home team you have to make the running. The effort of the players was not in question, but we couldn't break them down.

“We played a little too narrow for my liking and the end product was not there. We huffed and puffed but had no momentum.

“You can't play like that and not turn your possession into goals. But it's still a learning curve for me. I've only been here for four weeks, and the lads are still getting used to me,” added Lambert.

Walsall manager Jimmy Mullen said: “I thought we deserved to win. Once we got our noses in front, I knew it would be difficult for them to get back into the game.

“The second goal killed Colchester off. They had a lot of possession, but didn't really hurt us.