Lambert hoping old boys don't tick

COLCHESTER United boss, Paul Lambert, will be hoping that a couple of Wycombe old boys will be off their game at Sixfields Stadium this afternoon.

Carl Marston

Colchester soccer, secondary story

By Carl Marston

COLCHESTER United boss, Paul Lambert, will be hoping that a couple of Wycombe old boys will be off their game at Sixfields Stadium this afternoon.

Striker Scott McGleish, who used to be the darling of Layer Road, and keeper Frank Fielding were both at Wycombe when Lambert was in charge at Adams Park.

Now McGleish will be leading Northampton's front-line against his old club, while Fielding will be the last line of defence, trying to keep the U's at bay.

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“Scott (McGleish) did great for me at Wycombe. He scored about 25 goals last season. And he proved that he was a goalscorer from his time here at Colchester,” confessed Lambert.

“But I don't want him to be prolific against us today, just as I could do with my old keeper Frank (Fielding) dropping a few!”

McGleish scored 53 goals in 184 appearances for the U's, and he also bagged 54 goals in 132 first team outings during an initial spell at Northampton (2004 to early 2007).

The 34-year-old returned to Sixfields on loan from Wycombe at the end of last month, and scored in the 1-1 draw at Leeds in the first round of the FA Cup. Leeds won the replay, only for the Cobblers to gain revenge with a 2-1 win in the league on Tuesday night.

Fielding, who is on the books of Blackburn Rovers, was recruited by Lambert for a season-long loan spell at Wycombe last term. The 20-year-old kept 15 clean-sheets in his 39 appearances for the Chairboys.

Another ex-Colchester player on the Cobblers' books is midfielder Luke Guttridge, who was released by the U's last summer, while defender Kurt Robinson could make his debut after signing on loan from Ipswich on deadline day.

Meanwhile, Lambert confirmed that the loanee double act of Sam Williams and Lee Hills have returned to their parent clubs. Left-back Hills is not expected to come back from Crystal Palace, due to his knee injury, although front-runner Williams will receive treatment at Aston Villa with the hope of returning before Christmas.

“The squad was not as strong as I would have liked it to be, which is why I brought in a couple of new players (Marc Tierney and Jimmy Walker) before the transfer deadline,” explained Lambert.

“I've had Northampton watched at home, and it will be a hard game, but away from home we are more than capable of winning. We usually have more space to get behind teams on our travels.

“That's not to say that I'm happier playing away. We should enjoy playing at home. Before I came, I was told that we couldn't win at home, but we've won twice (against Carlisle and Yeovil) since I've been here, and we should have beaten Millwall (2-1 defeat) as well.

“The fresh faces will help. Strengthening the defence was a priority, because even without injuries we still needed help,” added Lambert.

Full-backs John White and Phil Ifil are both in the squad after their recent ankle and shin injuries, although midfielder Kem Izzet is expected to miss out with a sore hamstring.

Anthony Wordsworth serves a one-match suspension for accruing five bookings, and defender Matt Heath and striker Steven Gillespie remain on the injury list.

Keeper Jimmy Walker, recruited on loan from West Ham on Thursday, is poised to make his Colchester debut - his last first-team outing for the Hammers was at the end of the 2005-06 season. Likewise, Shrewsbury Town loanee Marc Tierney should also start at left-back.