Cup run important to us, says U's boss

EXTENDED cup runs were beneficial, not detrimental, to Colchester United's league exploits last season and they will be banking on a similar tonic this term.

By Carl Marston

EXTENDED cup runs were beneficial, not detrimental, to Colchester United's league exploits last season and they will be banking on a similar tonic this term.

The U's, in the doldrums after four defeats on the bounce in the Championship, have a chance to chalk up a first win of the season at MK Dons in a Carling Cup first round tie this evening.

Geraint Williams' men will be looking to build on an encouraging second-half display at West Brom on Saturday, when the visitors nearly stole a point in a 2-1 defeat.


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Although without a point from their first four fixtures, life would appear a lot brighter if the U's could go into their two-week break with a cup triumph over the Dons, followed by their first points of the season against Derby on Saturday.

“Cup runs have been good to us in the past, and we want to make progress in this competition,” explained Williams last night.

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“We have our hands full in the Championship. Of the four defeats, the two away from home couldn't have been against tougher opposition, but we were disappointed not to get any points from our two home matches (against Plymouth and Barnsley).

“It's important to get our first win on the board. It is all about results. You live and die by them, and life will look a lot brighter if we can get off the mark,” explained Williams.

The U's won promotion from League One last term, even though they had the distraction of two long cup runs. It just proved that it is still possible for a “small” club like Colchester to enjoy league and cup success in the same season.

Former manager Phil Parkinson guided the U's to the southern area final of the LDV Vans Trophy, in addition to a money-spinning FA Cup run that culminated in a fifth round trip to Chelsea.

True, the U's did lose their next three league games, following their cup adventure at Stamford Bridge, but they soon regained their winning touch.

Furthermore, the money generated from their cup exploits almost certainly persuaded chairman Peter Heard that he didn't need to sell any of his prize assets during the January transfer window.

If United had bowed out of the FA Cup at an earlier stage, then the probability is that either Neil Danns or Greg Halford, or both, would have been sold. The loss of such key players would have made promotion far less likely.

Williams is set to tinker with his side tonight, although his squad is too small to cater for wholesale changes. He has therefore selected the same 16 from Saturday, with the addition of new signing Lawrie Wilson and teenage defender Matt Paine.

Jamie Guy, who bagged his first ever senior goal with a clinical strike at West Brom, is one of those pushing for a start. The 19-year-old netted within seconds of his appearance as an 82nd minute substitute against the Baggies.

“Jamie (Guy) took his goal well. It was a fantastic finish. His first touch killed the ball and it then sat up well for him to score. It was a clinical finish, the sort of finishing that we need,” said Williams

“It means that we have scored in three of our first four games, but you can't expect to get anything if you keep conceding two goals.

“Team-wise, I might make one or two changes, but I don't have a mass of players who are in need of a game.

“MK Dons have won three of their four games, so they are going well. They have not lost at home yet, but we must impose ourselves on the game,” added Williams.

Centre-half Pat Baldwin has been on the bench for the last couple of matches, after feeling unwell during the home defeat by Plymouth. But he might return to the starting line-up tonight.

However, midfielder Johnnie Jackson will again miss out. The former Tottenham 24-year-old tweaked his groin during a training session at the end of last week, which forced him to miss the trip to West Brom. He is still receiving treatment.

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