Crocked Watson to miss holiday games

CROCKED midfielder Kevin Watson is set to miss the bulk of Colchester United's Christmas campaign due to injury.Watson has been plagued by Achilles tendon and calf injuries this season, and an MRI scan this week has now revealed a torn calf muscle.

By Carl Marston

CROCKED midfielder Kevin Watson is set to miss the bulk of Colchester United's Christmas campaign due to injury.

Watson has been plagued by Achilles tendon and calf injuries this season, and an MRI scan this week has now revealed a torn calf muscle.

The experienced 33-year-old will have to sit out this evening's key Championship clash against visiting Norwich City, which is being screened live on Sky Sports TV (kick-off 5.20pm).

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But he recognises the importance of today's outcome, with both East Anglian clubs in the thick of the relegation battle.

“It's so frustrating that I am injured again. I think it was a case of rushing back too soon at Cardiff last weekend,” admitted Watson, who made a quicker than expected return from a calf problem due to fellow midfielder Kem Izzet's absence through suspension.

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Izzet will return to the starting line-up against Norwich, having served his one-match ban for five bookings, but now his regular central midfield partner Watson is out of action.

Former Tottenham trainee Watson continued: “My run of bad luck continues. I've had problems with my left Achilles, and now it's my right calf. I've just had the results of the MRI scan, and it seems that a deep muscle in my calf is torn.

“I've had one week off already, and I'll be out for another two at least. It's a shame, because I'm going to miss several games over the holiday period.

“It's back to square one for me, in terms of injury, and I suppose I did come back too soon. The calf was very painful at Cardiff, but I didn't want to come off and let down the team.

“Hopefully, I'll be back for one or two games before the festive period is over,” added Watson.

Norwich climbed above the U's in the Championship table, and so out of the relegation zone, after recording their fourth win in the last five games against Sheffield United last weekend.

By contrast, Geraint Williams' men dropped into the bottom three for the first time in 15 months, after crashing to a 4-1 defeat at Cardiff. They have won just one of their last 10 fixtures, mustering just six points from a possible 30.

Watson continued: “If we win, then we will go back above Norwich. If other results go our way, then suddenly we could be up to 17th or 18th.

“However, if we lose than a gap will start to appear between us and the teams just above. That is why this is such a big game. People are always talking about six-pointers, but this really is a six-pointer!

“The fact that it's a local derby increases the pressure, and we must start holding onto leads. We're doing ourselves no favours at the moment.

“We need to address the problem of not being able to protect leads. It's not just about the back four, but about the whole team. The table shows that we are the fourth highest scorers (33 goals) in the division, and with that sort of record we shouldn't be in the bottom three,” added Watson.

Izzet for Watson will be the one certain change to the U's starting line-up, following the defeat in south Wales.

Norwich boss Glenn Roeder will also be forced into at least one change. Defender Martin Taylor's loan spell from Birmingham City has ended, and so he has returned to St Andrews, which is a blow to the Canaries - Roeder wanted to extend Taylor's loan stay.

Centre-half Gary Doherty is a natural replacement, having missed the win over Sheffield United due to a one-match suspension. Likewise, fellow midfielder Darel Russell is also available again after serving his one-match ban.

At the other end of the pitch, striker Jamie Cureton will be facing the U's for the first time since his summer move to Norwich. The 32-year-old banged home 24 goals for United last term, on his way to the Golden Boot, and he is City's leading scorer with six goals this term.

Today's squads

COLCHESTER UNITED: Gerken, Duguid, Connolly, Virgo, Elokobi, Yeates, Izzet, Jackson, Sheringham, Lisbie, Platt, McLeod, Baldwin, Guy, Guttridge, Granville, Cousins.

NORWICH CITY: Marshall, Otsemobor, Doherty, Shackell, Camara, Huckerby, Fotheringham, Russell, Pattison, Cureton, Evans, Smith, Croft, Dublin, Spillane, Martin, Arnold.

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