DOUG Loft spent five years at Port Vale and captained them to a memorable promotion.

So the Colchester United midfielder’s obvious disappointment in being denied the chance to take on his former club tomorrow is hardly surprising.

The 30-year-old still has a soft spot for the Valiants, for whom he was named Player of the Year in 2012 and helped guide to League One, the following season.

“I’d have loved to have played in that one,” said Loft, who made nearly 200 league and cup appearances for the Staffordshire-based side between 2009 and 2014.

“I was captain of Vale for many years and got promoted there.

“It’s got a big place in my heart and they’ve started to pick up a couple of wins of late but I fancy us any day of the week and hopefully it will be another three points.

“I know a few of the boys there but there’s been a lot of change there, since I was there.

“The fans were always brilliant to me there and it would have been nice to have played against them but it’s not to be.”

Loft will miss out on this weekend’s clash but the good news for Colchester is that he is hoping to be available for their trip to play Crawley Town, on Boxing Day.

The former Gillingham man has been out since suffered a torn bicep in the U’s 1-0 win over Lincoln City, on November 21.

“I’ve been out running and I’m hoping to train today and be ready for Boxing Day,” he said.

“It was a very painful one – I landed on it and then the guy landed on me and I ripped my bicep.

“I tried to play on with it but it was way too painful.

“It was a bit of a freak injury and it was just one of those things.

“When I came into the team I felt I did well and earned my shirt, so I’m confident that I can do that again and come back fitter and better than ever.

“I’m happy with how I was playing and I’m one of the experienced players in the squad and a big part of the dressing room and a big part of the team, so I’m looking forward to the rest of the season.”