Baldwin out, Okuonghae out, Heath doubt

COLCHESTER United boss John Ward is facing up to the prospect of missing all three of his senior centre-halves for this weekend’s daunting trip to Sheffield Wednesday.

COLCHESTER United boss John Ward is facing up to the prospect of missing all three of his senior centre-halves for this weekend’s daunting trip to Sheffield Wednesday.

Magnus Okuonghae will serve a one-match suspension, after being sent off at Rochdale last week, while Pat Baldwin is a definite non-starter with a fractured toe.

And third centre-half Matt Heath, who hobbled off with an ankle injury early in the second half of last Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Spotland, is also struggling to be fit for Hillsbrough.

“Matt (Heath) will try to train today and tomorrow. Before then we do not know whether or not he will come through,” explained Ward this morning.

“Pat (Baldwin) has a fracture of the toe and so is out. However, it is not a displaced fracture, just a minor fracture. We just have to be careful with him.”

Ward admitted that he did contemplate trying to bring in a centre-half on loan, but only briefly.

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Instead, if Heath fails to come through, then Ward looks set to play full-back John White alongside Tom Eastman in the heart of defence. Eastman was recalled from his loan spell at Crawley Town earlier in the week.

Ward revealed: “I did consider a loan signing, but only briefly.

“I talked to one or two clubs, and my scouts, but I didn’t want to just bring in a young defender, especially as I had brought back Tom (Eastman) and could also have brought back Tom Bender (from Accrington Stanley).

“Magnus will be back for Tuesday (at home to Bournemouth) and Matt might come through for Saturday.”

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