Entire team of U's crocked

HERE'S an intriguing fixture for you - the U's fit XI versus the U's crocked XI! It would be a close match.Colchester United manger Geraint Williams effectively has an entire team of injured players that will be staying at home this weekend, while the rest travel to Norfolk for an East Anglian derby at Norwich City.

Carl Marston

HERE'S an intriguing fixture for you - the U's fit XI versus the U's crocked XI! It would be a close match.

Colchester United manger Geraint Williams effectively has an entire team of injured players that will be staying at home this weekend, while the rest travel to Norfolk for an East Anglian derby at Norwich City.

Last season, the U's were virtually free of long-term casualties. In fact, only Richard Garcia and Marino Keith were sidelined for more than a month throughout the campaign.


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Twelve months on and the injury list is a formidable one, proving that when you're rooted to the bottom of the table, nothing much goes right.

The crocked XI would not look out of place in the Championship. It is a well balanced side, packed with experience. All have been key members of the squad this season, with the exception of Charlton loanee Izzy McLeod, who only lasted a couple of games before sustaining a serious knee injury.

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Keeper Aidan Davison remains sidelined, as do centre-halves Chris Coyne and Pat Baldwin, and full-backs Karl Duguid and Danny Granville. Central midfielders Kevin Watson and Luke Guttridge are also out, together with wingers Mark Yeates and Kevin McLeod, and strikers Teddy Sheringham and loanee Izzy McLeod (now back at The Valley).

Skipper Duguid is the latest new arrival in the treatment room, after he twisted his knee during the second-half of Tuesday night's 3-1 home defeat by Hull City.

“It just about says it all, that we have a whole team out.” rued Duguid.

“Last season we had no injuries, but now it seems like we're moaning every week. That comes with being at the bottom of the table. We haven't had much luck.

“I twisted my knee while blocking a shot from Dean Windass. It's opened up the knee a little, but it's nothing to worry about, though this weekend will probably be too soon for me,” added Duguid.

The only real piece of good news at Layer Road this week was the U's successful bid to have Phil Ifil's red card rescinded - the U's right-back had been sent off after just 14 minutes against Hull, following a challenge that referee Pat Miller adjudged to be “violent conduct.”

Ifil is therefore free to line-up against Norwich, taking the pressure off Williams' need to recruit another emergency loan player.

Duguid continued: “It's great that Phil (Ifil) had his red card rescinded, but who knows what we would have done with XI versus XI against Hull?

“We gave them a good game with just 10 men, until the late third goal killed us off. But our luck has been horrible this season.

“We've only suffered two big defeats all season, otherwise all the games have been close. We lost 4-1 at Cardiff, but then we were 1-0 up at half-time, and although I wasn't at Plymouth for the other 4-1 defeat, I understand that they scored with just about their only four shots on target.

“All we can do is keep going, and try to win every game. We won't be giving up, because once you do that, you'll end up being trounced in games,” concluded Duguid.

The U's are a daunting 11 points adrift of safety, with just seven games remaining.

Squads

NORWICH CITY: Marshall, Otsemobor, Shackell, Pearce, Bertrand, Huckerby, Fotheringham, Gibbs, Russell, Dublin, Cureton, Rigters, Doherty, Croft, Pattison, Evans, Camara, Gilks.

COLCHESTER UNITED: Gerken, Ifil, Virgo, Heath, White, Hammond, Jackson, Izzet, Elito, Platt, Lisbie, Vernon, Wordsworth, Guy, Balogh, Devaux, Bankole.

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