Bond could be back for Preston – and that’s the tooth!

COLCHESTER United midfielder Andy Bond has amazingly not been ruled out of the club’s League One opener at Preston next Saturday following the horror injury he sustained in the friendly against Ipswich on Tuesday night.

With the score still goalless, the game was abandoned with little over 10 minutes to go after the substitute and U’s keeper Mark Cousins clashed heads at a sickening pace while both trying to clear a ball just outside the box.

Bond was left unconscious, wide-eyed and bloodied on the floor following the collision, with both managers agreeing the game should be called to a halt.

Following lengthy on-pitch treatment by a mass team of medical staff, the 25-year-old was helped to a nearby ambulance and kept in hospital overnight.

Scans have thankfully revealed that there was no fracture of a cheekbone, as first feared, and he was back at the club yesterday to catch up with his concerned team mates.

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“He’s been to see a dental specialist and is going to have to have extensive work done,” said Ward. “We’ve managed to find one of his teeth in the penalty box for him to keep as a souvenir!

“Everyone was really pleased to see him back on his feet this week and feeling a lot better in himself.

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“We’ll ease him back into training next week and see how he reacts – I can’t rule him in or out of the squad for the Preston match at this stage.”

Colchester host Championship club Watford today in their final pre-season friendly (3pm).

Cousins, defender Magnus Okuonghae and striker Kayode Odejayi also received cuts to their head on Tuesday night, with the latter eventually substituted due to a dead leg, but the U’s boss says all three are fit to play this afternoon.

Neither keeper Ben Williams, who has been laid low by a serious virus, nor striker Steven Gillespie (groin) will be involved but are set to return to training at the start of next week.

“We’re pretty pleased with how we played against Ipswich,” said Ward, who will continue to look to strengthen his depleted strikeforce before the big kick-off.

“We are still undefeated in pre-season and looking pretty fit. Watford is another big game for us and we’ve got to try and match what we did on Tuesday night.”

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