Home debuts aplenty for U's

THERE will be home debuts aplenty as Colchester United bid to cure a case of the Layer Road blues against visiting Hull City this afternoon.

Carl Marston

By Carl Marston

THERE will be home debuts aplenty as Colchester United bid to cure a case of the Layer Road blues against visiting Hull City this afternoon.

The U's are lumbered with the worst home record in the Championship, having mustered just two wins from 14 league and cup fixtures. A haul of just 12 points from a possible 39 is relegation form.

But a trio of new faces could be just the spark that United need to ignite their season. It is certainly vital that they regain that winning feeling at Layer Road, to stand any chance of beating the drop.

Centre-half Chris Coyne and right-back Phil Ifil are set to make their home debuts against the Tigers, while new assistant manager Kit Symons will be sitting in the dug-out for the first time since his appointment on Wednesday.

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Both Coyne and Ifil impressed at Bristol City, to help shore up a leaky defence. And Symons, who played approximately 500 games as a centre-half, will be paying particular attention to the back-line today.

Manager Geraint Williams is unlikely to make too many changes from last weekend's encouraging 1-1 draw at Ashton Gate. In fact, the odds are on him keeping the same side.

Club skipper Karl Duguid could return to the starting line-up, having been rested for the trip to Bristol, while George Elokobi is also back in the squad after illness.

Aidan Davison underwent an exploratory operation on his sore shoulder yesterday, but fellow keeper Dean Gerken is fit and raring to go after sustaining a head injury that forced his withdrawal after 83 minutes against City.

Gerken has played the last 15 games, since regaining his place at the beginning of November. Mark Cousins will remain on the bench.

Midfielder Kevin Watson returned to training this week, after playing just one game in the last two months due to calf problems. However, the 33-year-old is short of match-fitness and will not figure today.

Hull welcome back midfielder Clive Livermore after suspension, and defender Andy Dawson after a virus. Dawson could replace Damien Delaney, who left the KC Stadium to join QPR this week for an undisclosed fee, believed to be in the region of £500,000.

The U's tried unsuccessfully to sign Delaney at the beginning of the month.


COLCHESTER UNITED: Gerken, Ifil, Coyne, Virgo, White, Yeates, Izzet, Guttridge, Jackson, Platt, Lisbie, Sheringham, Balogh, Guy, Granville, Duguid, Elokobi, Elito, McLeod, Cousins.

HULL CITY: Myhill, Ricketts, Turner, Brown, Dawson, Garcia, Ashbee, Livermore, Hughes, Folan, Windass, Barmby, Campbell, Marney, France, Doyle, Collins, Tyler.

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