Keeper dilemma for U's manager
A SETTLED side is often a successful one. That certainly applies to Colchester United.With the exception of the goalkeeper, there has been no reason for U's boss Geraint Williams to change his starting XI over the last month.
By Carl Marston
A SETTLED side is often a successful one. That certainly applies to Colchester United.
With the exception of the goalkeeper, there has been no reason for U's boss Geraint Williams to change his starting XI over the last month.
The team has had time to gel, and the net result has been an unbeaten run of four games, spanning three wins over Derby, Burnley and QPR, and a draw at Luton.
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The 10 outfield players have stayed the same for this quartet of fixtures. In fact, the only change was an enforced one when keeper Aidan Davison failed to recover from a groin injury to figure against QPR. Dean Gerken therefore stepped in and impressed in a 2-1 victory over the basement club.
Williams has only one real dilemma ahead of tomorrow's trip to Leicester City. He is poised to stick with the same outfield players for the fifth game running, though he has to make a choice between fit-again Davison and his deputy Gerken.
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“It's been a massive plus for us that we haven't had any new injuries or suspensions,” admitted Williams last night.
“I keep saying this while touching wood, because we want this situation to continue. Tony Flynn (the physio) either has magic hands, or else the lads don't want to spend time with him!
“Partnerships have been able to blossom over the last few weeks. You get to understand your team-mate's game, his strengths and weaknesses, what service he likes and when he likes to go forward. That's only natural,” added Williams.
The accumulation of 10 points from a possible 12 has meant that the likes of Kevin McLeod and Johnnie Jackson have been unable to break into a successful side.
Left-winger McLeod has made three appearances as a substitute since his move from Swansea City, before the transfer deadline, while midfielder Jackson has been stuck on the bench since recovering from a groin injury.
The U's squad remains small, especially by comparison to most other clubs in the Championship, but Williams is not yet under pressure to sign any new players - he can make emergency loan signings - because injuries and suspensions have yet to take hold.
“We're still looking all the time. We're on the phone tracking players, and we have names in mind if the squad does suddenly get hit by injuries,” continued Williams.
The U's have risen from 23rd to 16th in the Championship table over the last month. Tomorrow's hosts Leicester are two points below the U's, although they did progress through to the third round of the Carling Cup with a 3-1 win at Hereford United in midweek.
Foxes manager Rob Kelly is sweating over an appeal against defender Patrick Kisnorbo's sending-off at Hereford. The Australian is a big danger from set pieces, and has already scored against Southend and Ipswich this season. If the appeal is rejected, then he will miss tomorrow's match through suspension.