Colchester United have had a fantastic week off the pitch, announcing all-time record profits; there is also a great boost after manager Geriant Williams admited that his side had produeced some of their best football of the season in the draw with Bryan Robson’s Sheffield United.
With a squad bouyed by new palyers, Owen Coyle on the opposite bench has warned his squad that this will be one of thier hardest remianing games this season.
Yet, if Colchester think the loss of star Clarets’ man Andy Gray might help thier cause, they should look at the stats: Burnley habe netted five goals in the space of three games since his departure.
Colchester: ‘It can have two effects when you lose a big player like Andy Gray.
‘Players can sulk and say well, why have we let him go? Or whoever comes in can say, ‘right, I’ll take my chance.’
‘If you look at us, we lost the goals here from last year apparently, and yet we’re still one of the top goal-scorers in the league so the players that have come have grabbed their opportunity.
‘Of course they’ve got Ade Akinbiyi, Andy Cole, Robbie Blake and Kyle Lafferty too, so they’ve still got players that can score goals and they’ve still picked up some good results since Gray left – so that’s what you want from your players.’ – The U’s manager on the plus or minus impact of being without a star player.
Burnley: ‘I actually think this could be our toughest game of the season.’
‘Colchester are fighting for their lives and they won’t want to give up their Championship status.
‘I actually think they are a better team than their league position suggests and so we are going to have to be at our best.
‘We will give them every respect because the Championship presents a difficult obstacle every week and we know the perils of underestimating the teams at the bottom.
‘The margins between winning and losing are very fine, but we are handily placed two points off the play offs and we will go and try to win another important game and push ourselves into the frame.’ – Coyle complements Colchester.
Burnley Team News:
Alan Mahon (Groin) and Clarke Carlisle (Hamstring) still look to be suffering from their niggling injuries; they are doubtful. Steve Jones also has a knee problem whilst Chris McCann has not managed to train this week and so misses out. Vital Burnley say that David Unsworth with be making his 500th career apperance if he plays.
Player to watch: Andy Cole
Andy Cole – The former Manchester United legend will be a sub, and as the nationals report today, will be sitting just a few week from fellow U’s sub and former Manchester team-mate, Teddy Sheringham. The pair did not speak for more than a decade after a disagreement and Cole would love to open his account his afternoon against Colchester.
Colchester United Team News:
Colchester will be once again without new singing Dean Hammond, who has a calf injury and Mark Yeates will not figure either. Pat Baldwin is also not in today’s squad, despite complting three-quaters of a reserve game this week.
Teddy Sheringham and Jamie Guy are both expected to feature on the bench after spells out. Guy netted twice for the second string this week.
Kevin Watson should also be on the bench, although the midfielder is not joined by player-coach Aden Davsion, who remains sidelined.
Kevin McLeod is recalled and another new signing, Scott Vernon, also made the trip to Truf Moor.
Player to watch: Kevin Lisbie
The U’s frontman will be looking to add to his ten goals for the season and has been in fine form, scoring four goals in four games since the start of 2008.
Match Facts & Stats
Squads – Taken From EADT:
BURNLEY: Jensen, Alexander, Varga, Unsworth, Harley, Elliott, O’Connor, Gudjonsson, Lafferty, Blake, Akinbiyi, Randall, Cole, Spicer, Caldwell, McCann, Kiraly.
COLCHESTER UNITED: Gerken, Ifil, Coyne, Virgo, White, Duguid, Watson, Izzet, Jackson, Platt, Lisbie, Sheringham, Vernon, McLeod, Balogh, Guttridge, Cousins.
Steve Bratt from the West Midlands.
Colchester 3 – Burnley 2
The U’s will face Preston in a vital game on Tuesday.