Bah humbug! Christmas is in June, says Ward

YOU might forgive a football manager of secretly hoping his side’s Boxing Day match gets postponed so that he could indulge in some rare Christmas festivities.

However, with Colchester United’s match at Peterborough in considerable doubt because of the freezing temperatures, U’s boss John Ward is thinking nothing of the sort.

“People who know me pretty well think that I don’t like Christmas – and perhaps I don’t!,” said the 59-year-old.

“It gets in the way of football for me – certainly my family think that.

“Pleasingly, as a working guy, I have to say I can’t remember a Christmas where I’ve been at home.


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“I keep saying to the wife – Christmas is June, we have our Christmas in June when I can try and switch off for a bit.”

As it stands, the Colchester United squad are due to train this morning and will then return for another training session late in the afternoon on Christmas Day before staying in a hotel in Peterborough overnight in preparation for a match against a side just a point behind them in the League One table.

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“I’m very much aware that I’ve got a lot of young people working under my management and they’ve got families and people they need to see,” said Ward.

“But the bottom line is that the football is the most important thing.

“We try to fit everything in, but if we start putting other things ahead of our games of football we could find ourselves being adrift (of the play-offs) after the next four games and that’s something myself and the players obviously don’t want to do.”

“I never had a generous manager as a player and I’m not one myself.”

Now might not be a bad time for the sixth-place U’s to face a Peterborough side who are attempting to get promoted back to the Championship at the first time of asking.

Posh have just agreed the sale of key striker Aaron Mclean to Championship club Hull City for �1m, with director of football Barry Fry refusing to rule out the sale of further star players such as Craig Mackail-Smith, George Boyd and Joe Lewis in January.

And for those that read into these sort of statistics, Peterborough have won just once in their last 13 Boxing Day fixtures.

Sunday’s game is in serious doubt though as Peterborough has had a lot of snowfall over the last week and the EADT understands that the club is likely to hold a pitch inspection this morning. For all the latest news on this, keep checking www.greenun24.co.uk.

The U’s squad suffered a wasted journey last weekend after they endured over 20 hours of travel down to Bristol Rovers and back for a fixture that was postponed on the morning of the game.

Should the Boxing Day game go ahead, the U’s will be without Magnus Okuonghae (ankle injury) and Tom Williams (groin), but have Marc Tierney and Andy Bond available again following their recoveries from hernia surgery.

Meanwhile, Colchester employed the use of adult volunteers to help clear snow from The Weston Homes Community Stadium pitch and surrounding areas yesterday ahead of next Tuesday’s visit of Oldham (3pm).

As it stands, the U’s are set to play four games in nine days – three of them against teams around them in the higher reaches of the table.

Following matches against Peterborough (eighth place) and Oldham (seventh), the U’s welcome Charlton (fourth) on New Year’s Day before travelling to Leyton Orient (16th) on January 3.

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