Colchester United on the search for central defensive cover

Tom Eastman (heading the ball) limped off during Colchester's 3-1 defeat to Coventry City on Saturda

Tom Eastman (heading the ball) limped off during Colchester's 3-1 defeat to Coventry City on Saturday

Colchester United boss Tony Humes is on the search for central defensive cover.

The U’s lost Tom Eastman to a calf injury at Coventry City on Saturday, with the former Ipswich Town man touch-and-go for this weekend’s trip to Millwall.

“We will have to see how he progresses during the week,” said boss Humes, whose side were defeated 3-1 by the second-place Sky Blues.

“He had a tight calf at half-time, and he didn’t look as if he was moving the best so you have to look after your players.

“We are looking at bringing in somebody else – you look throughout the league, or many other leagues, and everybody is looking for centre-half!

“We are battling among other people and are on the constant look-out, but when there’s not many (defenders) available, you can only do what you can do.

“We have to dust ourselves down and get on with it, and be big and brave enough to stand up to what is put before us.”

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Eastman has started Colchester’s last 91 consecutive games in League One, and played every single minute of every single game last season, but his place is in jeopardy this weekend.

George Elokobi came on to replace Eastman against Coventry, and he could partner youngster Frankie Kent at The Den, should Eastman not recover sufficiently.

Alex Wynter remains sidelined with an ankle injury.

Despite conceding three goals on Saturday, and with his side holding the worst defensive record (37 goals against, eight more than Barnsley, who have the second-worst defensive record) in League One, Humes refused to blame his back-four for defeat against high-flying Coventry.

“You can’t be too critical of the defence,” he said.

“They were up against some good players, and there was a little bit of misfortune on our behalf (a quick free-kick found its way through the Colchester back-line for goal number two and Jamie Jones spilled Ruben Lameiras’ shot straight to Marc Antoine-Fortune for the third goal on a damp Weston Homes surface).

“But we’ve got to be a little bit tighter, and we’ve got to deal with things a little bit better.”

See tomorrow’s East Anglian Daily Times for more Colchester United news.

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