May is a friend turned foe

FORMER players often tend to raise their game when up against their old clubs.

Carl Marston

FORMER players often tend to raise their game when up against their old clubs. Colchester United will be hoping that habit doesn't apply this afternoon.

Ex-U's striker Wayne Andrews caught the eye for Luton Town on Tuesday night, playing a big part in the Hatters' winning goal and subsequent progress through to the Johnstone's Paint Trophy southern area final.

Today it is the turn of another Colchester old face, Ben May, to try and make an impact against his former club.


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May has not enjoyed much success at Scunthorpe since his move from Millwall last January. In fact, the 24-year-old target man did not score his first goal for Iron until netting in the 4-0 win over non-league Alfreton Town at the end of last month.

His chances have been restricted by the deadly form of fellow strikers Gary Hooper and Paul Hayes. Ex-Southend front-runner Hooper has already scored 15 goals this season, while Hayes has contributed 10 as well as netting three goals against the U's in their two meetings in the Championship last campaign.

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However, Hayes fractured his cheekbone during the early stages of the win over Alfreton, an injury which required surgery. It was initially expected that he would be out of action for a month, although he could well figure this afternoon, perhaps from the substitutes' bench. He will have to wear a face-mask.

May, who had two separate loan spells at Layer Road in 2003 and '04, scoring two goals in 22 appearances, is therefore likely to partner Hooper in attack.

Scunthorpe were relegated from the Championship along with the U's at the end of last season, but they have adapted far better to life in League One and have retained their manager, Nigel Adkins.

It was former physio Adkins who was in charge during the second half of the 2006-07 season, to complete the good work started by previous boss Brian Laws to secure promotion to the Championship.

Scunthorpe are currently in fifth spot, and will be looking to stretch their unbeaten run to five games. They have an impressive away record, bettered only by MK Dons, Leicester and Stockport.

They have won six league games on their travels, and only lost three at Oldham, Walsall and Tranmere, In fact, like the U's, they have accumulated more points on their travels (19) than at Glanford Park (18).

There could be plenty of goals today. Last weekend, Iron were involved in a thrilling 4-4 home draw against Northampton. May was on target with his fourth goal of the season, while Hooper netted twice, but the Cobblers over-turned a 4-1 deficit to snatch a point.

A few U's players have been hit by a virus this week, including centre-halves Paul Reid and Chris Coyne, although the latter was fit enough to play against his old club Luton. Fellow defender Matt Heath suffered a gash to the head at Kenilworth Road, but is named in the squad.

Club record signing Steven Gillespie is set to be on the bench, after making a brief appearance against Luton following more than seven weeks out of action with a hamstring injury.

Squads

COLCHESTER UNITED: Walker, Maybury, Coyne, Baldwin, Tierney, Izzet, Hammond, Perkins, Yeates, Platt, Vernon, Wordsworth, Reid, Jackson, Gillespie, White, Heath, Wasiu, Gerken.

SCUNTHORPE UNITED: Murphy, Byrne, Iriekpen, Pearce, Williams, Sparrow, Togwell, McCann, Woolford, May, Hooper, Morris, Hayes, Lillis, Thompson, Lea, Wright.

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