‘Anyone not pulling their weight will probably move away for the rest of the season’ – insists Colchester United boss Joe Dunne

Brian Wilson, who serves the second of a two-match suspension against Tranmere tomorrow

Brian Wilson, who serves the second of a two-match suspension against Tranmere tomorrow

Colchester United’s squad will be stretched to the limit, for tomorrow’s crunch League One relegation showdown against Tranmere Rovers.

The U’s are three points and three places clear of the bottom four, while Rovers are only out of the relegation zone on goal difference. It is, therefore, the classic six-pointer.

But Dunne will not be able to field his strongest side for such a key clash.

Both Brian Wilson and Craig Eastmond will miss out through suspension, while midfielder Marcus Bean is struggling with ill health and attacker Sanchez Watt is facing a battle to be fit due to injury.

Teenage front-runner, Macauley Bonne, is also out for at least three weeks after damaging his ankle during the under-18s victory over Portsmouth in the Youth Alliance Southern Area Cup Final on Tuesday night.


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Skipper Wilson serves the second of a two-match ban, for picking up his 10th booking of the season in last weekend’s 2-0 defeat at Notts County.

Likewise, midfielder Eastmond was flashed his 10th yellow card of the campaign, in the second-half of the 2-0 defeat at Peterborough on Wednesday night. The ex-Arsenal man will therefore miss both tomorrow and the following weekend’s trip to another relegation-haunted club, Stevenage.

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Bean was set to play at London Road, only to be taken ill on the afternoon of the match, while Watt was again absent due to a quad problem – he had blood drawn from that area last week.

Despite all these absentees, Dunne is only looking for players who are fully-committed, to take part in the final six games of the season. He will not tolerate any slackers.

“There’s a lot of players in there who had the experience (of a relegation battle) from last season,” explained Dunne.

“Anyone not pulling their weight will probably move away for the rest of the season.

“I’ll move them to the side.

“It would be nice for the players to go out and take a game by the scruff of the neck themselves.

“The team I pick for Saturday have got to show that.”

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