Colchester United sweating on the fitness of Ryan Inniss ahead of Swindon trip

Ryan Inniss, right, celebrates with goalscorer Sammie Szmodics, centre, and Tom Lapslie during the 3

Ryan Inniss, right, celebrates with goalscorer Sammie Szmodics, centre, and Tom Lapslie during the 3-1 win over Exeter. Inniss suffered a shoulder injury in that match. Picture: STEVE WALLER - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Colchester United are sweating on the fitness of key defender, Ryan Inniss, in the build up to Friday night’s big test at League Two play-off rivals Swindon Town.

Ryan Inniss, left, contests a high ball with Lincoln's Sean Raggett during the recent 1-0 home win

Ryan Inniss, left, contests a high ball with Lincoln's Sean Raggett during the recent 1-0 home win over the Imps. Inniss is an injury doubt for Friday's trip to Swindon. Picture: STEVE WALLER - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Centre-half Inniss, the sweeper in a solid back three, was forced off the pitch early in the second half of last Saturday’s impressive 3-1 home win over fourth-placed Exeter City.

Inniss suffered a shoulder injury and is considered a doubt for the trip to Wiltshire. His absence would mean a reshuffle in a U’s defence which has looked so well-organised in recent weeks.

The Crystal Palace loanee, who is with the U’s all season, has so far made 16 first-team appearances for the Essex club and been the dominant force in a three-man back-line also featuring Tom Eastman and Frankie Kent.

“Ryan has a very sore shoulder. We are going to have to assess it,” admitted U’s boss John McGreal.

“We did not really adapt to him coming off, which gave Exeter a head of steam before Frankie (Kent) became the dominant centre-half with some good headers.

“We are hoping it’s not too much of a problem, but it’s a bitter blow to lose Ryan,” added McGreal.

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The U’s were coasting at 3-0 up against Exeter, when Inniss trudged off the pitch in the 54th minute, having injured his shoulder in a collision.

He was replaced by substitute Sean Murray, who was on the comeback trail himself from injury (knee problem).

Murray delivered a good performance in midfield, but the U’s were visibly rattled by Inniss’ departure, with the Grecians quickly pulling a goal back through substitute Jayden Stockley, who found the net with a stooping header from Hiran Boateng’s 62nd minute corner.

The Devon side had several good chances immediately after scoring.

Sam Walker made a great save to block Boateng’s fierce drive in the 67th minute, and Kent blocked a goal-bound shot by substitute Kyle Edwards a minute later.

The U’s, deploying a flat back four after Inniss’ exit, weathered that storm and in the end were comfortable winners to move up to 10th in the table, level on points with Coventry City, who currently occupy the last play-off zone, and also level on points with Friday’s hosts, Swindon.

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