John Ward wants more than just a crystal football

LOSE at Wycombe, and Colchester United’s award-winning performance at Charlton Athletic will count for very little.

The U’s yesterday scooped the Football League’s ‘performance-of-the-week’ accolade, for their fantastic 2-0 victory at league leaders Charlton, but now is not the time to dwell on such successes.

Manager John Ward will not be happy, if his U’s team let their standards drop at relegation-haunted Wycombe tomorrow, especially as the Essex club are nudging up towards the play-offs.

Ward won’t even mention the top six, but U’s fans, and many of his players, do have half-an-eye on stealing the sixth and final play-off berth.

“We must keep our feet on the floor,” insisted Ward.

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“Our result at Charlton will count for very little, if we get beaten at Wycombe.

“What’s the use of a nice crystal football (performance-of-the-week award), if we get no points at Wycombe!

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“We have momentum, but I’ve been around too long to start crowing about things that might happen.

“We have got to go out and do it again, there is no resting on your laurels. We have to prepare for Wycombe away quickly, and reproduce our form.

“The team is in good shape, but we must maintain it,” added Ward.

A sweet strike from Anthony Wordsworth, his 11th goal of the season, and an eighth goal in eight appearances from Steve Gillespie, shocked league leaders Charlton.

That achievement was recognised by the Football League.

“I had a great phone call this morning, to say that we had been awarded the ‘performance-of-the-week.’ It was great news,” enthused Ward yesterday.

“That’s real credit for everybody at the football club, because we are little bit out in the sticks and a little bit out in the wilds at times. So it’s nice to get some recognition.”

Ward looks set to name an unchanged side for the trip to Adams Park, hardly surprising given that the U’s have lost just one of their last seven games.

Instead of wallowing in mid-table obscurity for the rest of the season, the U’s do now have half-a-chance of pushing for the play-offs, not least because Notts County, currently six points clear in sixth, have played two games more.

Ward, though, won’t be drawn into such a discussion.

He explained: “The players don’t talk about the play-offs, until the press ask them questions! And because they are polite, they answer them.

“But they don’t talk about it (play-offs) in the dressing room, when they get out of their cars. They talk about what they saw on TV instead!”

The U’s are facing up to a busy week. After tomorrow’s trip to Wycombe, they have back-to-back home games promotion contenders Sheffield United and Huddersfield.

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