Colchester face major injury crisis

COLCHESTER United are facing up to the biggest injury crisis of their season, and at the most critical time in the club's history.The U's have just 13 games left to save themselves from relegation to League One, starting with today's visit of play-off chasing Wolves.

Carl Marston

COLCHESTER United are facing up to the biggest injury crisis of their season, and at the most critical time in the club's history.

The U's have just 13 games left to save themselves from relegation to League One, starting with today's visit of play-off chasing Wolves.

The Essex club are desperate to stay in the Championship, to coincide with their move to a new stadium for the start of next season, but they will have to do it the hard way.

United are five points adrift of safety, following Preston's shock 2-0 win over leaders Preston on Tuesday night, and they have one third of their senior squad sidelined by injury.

Teddy Sheringham is the latest big-name casualty. The ex-England star missed last weekend's 2-1 defeat by Bristol City, and has since been diagnosed with a foot infection.

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Sheringham is joined on the sidelines by left-back John White, who suffered a dislocated elbow during the first-half of the home reverse by City. Defenders Pat Baldwin and Bela Balogh will continue to miss out, as will front-runner Jamie Guy and keepers Aidan Davison and Mark Cousins.

And of course star winger Mark Yeates has already written off this season, having undergone surgery on his dislocated shoulder 10 days ago.

Defender Danny Granville is also considered very doubtful, due to a tight groin.

The one bright spot is that centre-half Chris Coyne, who failed to appear for the second-half against Bristol City due to a head injury, should start alongside Adam Virgo in central defence.

“We have several injuries, which does not help,” admitted Williams. “Teddy (Sheringham) had been suffering from a sore foot. He's since had an X-ray, which showed that he has an infection under his big toe. He did not train last week, and has not trained this week either.

“Jamie (Guy) has had an injection to settle down his Achilles tendon injury, while Pat (Baldwin) has only just returned to jogging (knee problem).

“Bela (Balogh) is back in training, although his ankle has been sore, and Danny Granville has not trained this week because of a tight groin.”

The one department where Williams still has a wealth of choice is in central midfield. Kevin Watson and Dean Hammond were both on the bench last weekend, while fellow midfielder Luke Guttridge did not even make the final 16-man squad.

Regular central midfielder Johnnie Jackson switched to left-back, following the injuries to White and Coyne against Bristol City, and he could well start in that position this afternoon.

That could mean a full debut for ex-Brighton skipper Hammond.

The experienced Watson, back to fitness after his own calf problems, has only made one appearance since the end of November, though he could still be a key figure during the run-in.

Squads

COLCHESTER UNITED: Gerken, Ifil, Coyne, Virgo, Jackson, Duguid, Hammond, Izzet, McLeod, Platt, Lisbie, Vernon, Guttridge, Watson, Wordsworth, Bankole.

WOLVES: Hennessey, Collins, Breen, Craddock, Elokobi, Henry, Potter, Edwards, Elliott, Gray, Ebanks-Blake, Eastwood, Kyle, Olofinjana, Foley, Jarvis, Jones, Stack.

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