'It's a squad game', says Aidy

COLCHESTER United boss Aidy Boothroyd knows that any of his players could step up to the mark today when his side face Bristol Rovers.

Stuart Watson

COLCHESTER United boss Aidy Boothroyd is confident that any of his players could step up to the mark today when his side face Bristol Rovers.

The U's manager has a virtually fully fit squad to pick from for the first time in weeks as the third-place U's face ninth-place Rovers at the Memorial Stadium.

Phil Ifil, Matt Heath, Danny Batth and Steven Gillespie will all be hoping to retain their places in the starting line-up following last Saturday's 1-0 win over Oldham, but face competition from the returning Magnus Okuonghae, Paul Reid, John White, Kayode Odejayi and Kevin Lisbie.

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Boothroyd said: “With the way the weather is, the way the pitches are and the travelling we have to do, everybody is going to have to be a match winner at some point.

“That may sound daft, but over a nine month season I think it works out like that.

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“I've said from day one that it's a squad game and I try and create a competitive environment where nobody thinks their place in the team is safe.

“Training is competitive; everybody wears pads and it's at match pace. That's how I have always worked with my teams because, come match day, everybody knows what they have got to do.

“There is a big sign above the dressing room door which reminds them that they can't just switch on and off like a light switch. Everybody has got to be on it all the time.”

He added: “I very rarely tell the players what the starting line-up is on the day. If I'm going to leave someone out then I will tell them early because that's what I always wanted as a player.

“There have been occasions where I've thought it would be best not to tell them the team and I have just got them to turn up with their toilet bags on the day, but I can only think of two times I've done that this season.”

Meanwhile, Rovers boss Paul Trollope is hoping his side can produce a repeat of their performance which saw them beat Charlton 2-1 in their last home game.

He said: “We know what we are up against, a tough test, but a similar one to what Charlton gave us.

“We produced a good level of performance that night to win the game and the message from me will be 'same again'.

“We had a real competitive edge to us that night, we had an aggression, we had a fantastic team spirit and there was a positivity to our play that meant we created a lot of chances.

“What we set out to do against Charlton was to play our own game, pass the ball when we could and try to hurt them down the sides. We are now looking for a repeat of that.”

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