Johnnie on the spot

JOHNNIE Jackson can't wait to bounce back from his spot kick woe at Shrewsbury - although he will bow to experience and let Teddy Sheringham step up to the mark if the U's are awarded a penalty this afternoon.

By Carl Marston

JOHNNIE Jackson can't wait to bounce back from his spot kick woe at Shrewsbury - although he will bow to experience and let Teddy Sheringham step up to the mark if the U's are awarded a penalty this afternoon.

Jackson saw his extra-time penalty saved by Shrews keeper Ryan Esson, as Colchester United slumped to a 1-0 defeat at the New Meadow Stadium in Tuesday night's Carling Cup exit.

The former Tottenham midfielder would have no qualms about taking another penalty, but Sheringham is due to return to the team against Barnsley today, so the odds are on the 41-year-old assuming the spot-kick role.

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In fact, it looks like being a new-look Colchester front-line this afternoon. Sheringham is set to make his home debut alongside Kevin Lisbie, who is poised to make his U's debut following his summer move from Charlton.

For Jackson, he is just keen to put the disappointment of the Shrewsbury result, and experience, behind him, starting with a win over the visiting Tykes.

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“I felt very down in the dumps after the Shrewsbury game. Missing a penalty is just one of those things that happen in football, but it was disappointing all the same,” said Jackson last night.

“It was bad for me and bad for the team. Hopefully, it was just a blip and I'll be looking to put that behind me against Barnsley.

“At the time, I just fancied taking the penalty. It was an opportunity for me to score a goal. I missed it, so it was a bad penalty, but on another day the keeper would have dived the other way and the ball would have rolled into the net.

“You don't want to lose any game, but it might be a blessing in the long run, because we won't have a fixture congestion.

“We lost at MK Dons in the Carling Cup last season, which was a fifth straight defeat, but we didn't look back after that.

“I would take another penalty, but Teddy (Sheringham) should start, so I guess he'll be taking them, if we get any. You can't argue with his experience,” added Jackson.

Jackson struggled to hold down a regular starting place in central midfield last season, playing second fiddle to Kem Izzet and Kevin Watson. But the Londoner did operate effectively on the left flank, and this season he has replaced the injured Watson in the centre.

“I had a decent pre-season, and I'm pleased to be playing from the start. Now I want to keep my place,” continued Jackson.

“Last season, we didn't have a point after the first four games, but that's changed already with our good draw at Sheffield United (2-2) last weekend.

“Our home form was great last season, but we did lose our first two home games (against Plymouth and Barnsley). That's something we'll be looking to improve on.

“We were very positive at Layer Road, and we managed to catch teams on the back foot. We plan to stick with this high-tempo approach, and really get at teams.”

Jackson is set to continue in midfield, with Watson still on the comeback trail from a sore Achilles tendon. Up front, target man Clive Platt starts a three-match suspension, while Jamie Guy is struggling to overcome a thigh injury.

But Lisbie is in line to play, after missing the first two games of the season with a sore ankle. The 28-year-old spent 12 seasons as a professional at Charlton, before his move to Layer Road.

New signing Adam Virgo, recruited on a six-month loan from Celtic yesterday, is also in the squad. He should be a useful addition for boss Geraint Williams, because he can play either as a striker or defender.

Meanwhile, Barnsley boss Simon Davey is under no illusions about today's game, despite having signed 11 new players this summer.

“Colchester is always a tough place to go and we know that we are in for a difficult game,” admitted Davey. “They started with a good point at Sheffield United, but we won at Colchester last season, and I'm sure we can do it again.

“Our team is tougher, stronger and fitter than last season. We have technically better players who are physically stronger, so we have a more competitive squad.”


COLCHESTER UNITED: Gerken, Duguid, Baldwin, Connolly, Elokobi, Yeates, Izzet, Jackson, McLeod, Sheringham, Lisbie, Guttridge, White, Wordsworth, Granville, Virgo, Guy, Webb and Cousins.

BARNSLEY: Muller, Kozluk, Nyatanga, Reid, Souza, Werling, Howard, Johnson, Ricketts, Mostto, Ferenazi, Odejayi, Togwell, McCann, Christensen, Devaney and Colgan.

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