Colchester United v Gillingham match preview: John McGreal looking to carry on the momentum

Rene Gilmartin saves Joel Rollinson's penalty to give the U's another point from the 2-2 draw agains

Rene Gilmartin saves Joel Rollinson's penalty to give the U's another point from the 2-2 draw against Reading Under-21s in the Checkatrade Trophy. Picture: STEVE WALLER - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Colchester United boss, John McGreal, wants his side to carry on “the momentum” from their two previous away games, into tomorrow night’s Checkatrade Trophy Southern Group B match against Gillingham.

The U’s picked up two points from their first group fixture, against Reading Under-21s at the end of August, following a 2-2 home draw. They earned the second point by winning the ensuing penalty shoot-out 6-5.

Rene Gilmartin was the star performer that night, with his spot-kick heroics, and the U’s goalkeeping player-coach could well be given another chance tomorrow evening, despite Sam Walker celebrating his first clean-sheet of the season at Yeovil.

The U’s 1-0 win at Huish Park, courtesy of Sean Murray’s 43rd minute, could be a pivotal match for John McGreal’s men after what has been a difficult start to the season.

Fresh from a first away point of the season, with a 2-2 draw at Grimsby a week ago, the U’s duly notched their first away win of the season in Somerset, and now have a good chance to make progress into the knock-out stages of the Checkatrade Trophy.

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“We’ve got the squad to do it,” enthused boss McGreal.

“The boys are in a good place at the moment. The point at Grimsby gave us a little breathing space, and we’ve been seeing things come into place. We want to try and continue that now.

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“We’re at home and we want to win. We have a few sore ones (players carrying niggling injuries) because there’s been a lot of games lately, and we also have Mansfield coming up as well (on Saturday). But we’ve got a little bit of momentum, and we want to continue that.

“The boys are buzzing, and I’m really pleased for them,” added McGreal, who will make changes tonight.

For the first match, against Reading Under-21s, he brought in fringe players such as Gilmartin, Lewis Kinsella, Tariq Issa, Cameron James, Diaz Wright, Tommy O’Sullivan and Eoin McKeown.

He will not doubt do the same against League One outfit Gillingham, who beat Southend 2-1 in their first group match.

Kurtis Guthrie should get some minutes under his belt, after his long-term ankle injury, while Brandon Comley, Tom Lapslie, Nicke Kabamba and Cole Kpekawa were all the bench at Yeovil and so will be keen for a start.

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