Key midfielder Watson to miss trip

COLCHESTER United's key midfielder, Kevin Watson, is set to miss this weekend's crunch Championship clash at Hull City, due to a hamstring injury.The experienced 33-year-old hobbled off during the second-half of the dramatic 2-1 win over Leeds United on Easter Monday, and he is unlikely to recover in time to feature against the Tigers.

By Carl Marston

COLCHESTER United's key midfielder, Kevin Watson, is set to miss this weekend's crunch Championship clash at Hull City, due to a hamstring injury.

The experienced 33-year-old hobbled off during the second-half of the dramatic 2-1 win over Leeds United on Easter Monday, and he is unlikely to recover in time to feature against the Tigers.

However, Watson is still convinced that the U's can reach the Championship play-offs, by securing at least three wins from their last four games. They are currently just three points adrift of the play-offs.


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“Winning our last four games has put us in with a proper chance of getting into the top six,” insisted Watson last night.

“I think if we can get to 74 points, then we'll be in the play-offs. It's going to be tight, but we've given ourselves a real opportunity.

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“Several of our rivals have to play each other as well, so they'll drop points. And whereas we have come on strong over the last few weeks, others have struggled, like Preston and Cardiff.

“It looks like I will be very doubtful for the weekend, although I'll be travelling up with the rest of the team. I felt a tinge in my hamstring during the Southend game (3-0 win on Good Friday), but thought nothing of it.

“However, it began to tighten up against Leeds, and I knew there was a problem at half-time. In the end I just had to come off, to prevent the injury from becoming worse.

“I've been resting up, and having treatment on it, but I don't want to tear it completely by risking it at Hull. That would probably put me out for the season, and I want to be playing in the last three games if I can,” added Watson.

Former Rotherham and Reading midfielder Watson has only missed nine league games over the last three seasons, since his move from the Madejski Stadium.

He sat out just four league fixtures in his first two years, and was sidelined for five games by a calf strain last autumn. Otherwise, he has been a vital cog in the U's midfield, usually alongside Kem Izzet.

It is likely that Johnnie Jackson will partner Izzet in the middle of the park at Hull, if Watson does indeed miss out, with perhaps either Hogan Ephraim or Kevin McLeod enjoying a recall down the wing.

Following tomorrow's trip to the KC Stadium, the U's have two home games against leaders Sunderland and Crystal Palace, which sandwich an away game at Stoke City.

Watson continued: “Hull still need the points to avoid relegation, so the pressure will be on them. They need to come at us, because it's one of their two home games and they need the win.

“That should play into our own hands, a bit like at Southend when they had to push forward. I'm confident that we can get the right result up there, and you always have to fancy us at home, even against the league leaders!

“There's certainly no danger of us just cantering in to the end of the season.

“We could scrape into the play-offs, by coming up on the rails and surprising everyone.

“We also have two strikers in form. Jamie (Cureton) and Chris (Iwelumo) have scored 39 goals between them, and that really helps,” added Watson.

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