Heath: U's can shock Leeds

EX-Leeds United centre-half Matt Heath reckons that Colchester United have a great chance of causing an upset at his old stamping ground tomorrow.

Carl Marston

EX-Leeds United centre-half Matt Heath reckons that Colchester United have a great chance of causing an upset at his old stamping ground tomorrow.

Heath is unlikely to shake off a hamstring injury in time to figure against Leeds, but he is confident that his team-mates can heap yet more misery on the once-mighty Yorkshire club.

Although the U's are lumbered with a dreadful home record, that has yielded just two wins from 11 games at their new Community Stadium, they have been far more effective on the road.

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In fact, Paul Lambert's men have the best away record of any club in the lower half of the division.

Leeds, although still a force at Elland Road, are dreadfully low on confidence following three straight defeats, including a humiliating FA Cup exit at non-league Histon. Heath is predicting a surprise.

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“If we can score the first goal, then there will be a sense of massive disappointment around the stadium,” insisted Heath.

“The fans might get on the players' backs, and we could then use that to our advantage. I've seen that happen before, and it can happen again.

“Leeds are a big club. I got a fair crack of the whip there, and enjoyed my one-and-a-half years. New managers come in with different ideas, but you accept that in football.

“I always got the sense that it was a big club with a big history, but we were way off that when I was there, and the club is still down in League One.

“Leeds have relied on the goals from Jermaine Beckford (19 in all competitions) this season, and it looks like he is out injured. Again, we will be looking to exploit that.

“They will have to look elsewhere for their goals, and they might not have so many options. It can be good to play a big team when they are going through a bad patch,” added Heath.

Leicester-born Heath made 59 senior appearances for Leeds, mostly during last year, following his move from Coventry. The 27-year-old eventually signed for the U's last summer, after a loan spell towards the end of last season. He had fallen out of favour with current Leeds boss Gary McAllister.

Heath started 13 of the U's first 14 matches of this term, but has been in-and-out of the side since mid-October and has missed the last three games with a hamstring injury.

Paul Reid and Chris Coyne are the current first-choice centre-half partnership, with fellow centre-half Pat Baldwin employed as a right-back in the last couple of fixtures.

Heath continued: “I'm glad that I chose to come to Colchester, and I think we've improved as a team since the new manager (Paul Lambert) has been here.

“We wanted to make the new ground a fortress, and obviously that's not quite worked out for us yet, but I can still see us shooting up the league soon.

“We seem to have got our away form down to a tee, and we want to keep that going. It's a very tight league, and three or four wins in a row would see us suddenly looking up at the play-offs.

“I've started training again this week, but you have to be careful with a muscle injury. Whether I am in the squad or not, I'm certainly planning to be at the game.

“This weekend will be a chance for me to catch up with a few old friends, because I have very fond memories of my time there,” added Heath.

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