'Nervy' Platt hopes for victory at Dons

COLCHESTER United striker Clive Platt admits to be slightly “nervy” about manager Paul Lambert's quest for new players during this month's transfer window.

Carl Marston

COLCHESTER United striker Clive Platt admits to be slightly “nervy” about manager Paul Lambert's quest for new players during this month's transfer window.

Platt is hoping to lead the U's front-line against his former club MK Dons this evening, in front of the TV cameras in Buckinghamshire, as long as he can take the field with his fractured left hand.

And he wants to impress Lambert, who has made no secret of the fact that he wants to strengthen his squad, although central defence remains the Scotsman's main priority.

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“I have a mixture of feeling a bit nervy and a bit excited when I read about all these new players that the manager is apparently trying to bring in,” confessed Platt.

“He's looking for quality players, not just anyone, because this is a proper club. That's got to be a good thing, although you are always a bit nervous about your own situation. That's only natural.

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“If new players come in, then it puts more pressure on you to keep your spot,” added Platt.

The U's were sitting in the relegation zone only three months ago, but an encouraging run of just one defeat in their last seven league games has seen Lambert's men safely installed in mid-table.

United are still 10 points adrift of the League One play-offs, after Saturday's round of matches - only three fixtures survived the freezing conditions.

It would be a tall order for the U's to mount a late dash for the top six during the second half of the season, but Platt has not completely ruled it out.

“We have got ourselves into the half of the table, so what is our next target?” questioned Platt.

“For me, I look at what Crystal Palace did when they got into the play-offs. They were in a similar position to us.

“Yet you have to remember where we have come from. We're not shouting about the play-offs, because we know from where we have started out.

“At least our performances are improving and now the points are coming,” added Platt.

Target man Platt enjoyed two-and-a-half years at MK Dons. At his height he formed a lethal partnership with Izzy McLeod, propelling the Dons into the League Two play-offs in 2006-07.

Platt scored 18 goals that season, before moving to the U's for a club record fee of �300,000. Ironically, his old strike-force partner McLeod also ended up at Layer Road for a brief spell - just two brief appearances on loan from Charlton before he suffered cruciate ligament damage.

Platt only scored four goals during the first half of this season, a total he will be looking to improve on over the next few months.

Steven Gillespie, who is the U's new club record signing (�400,000), also has four goals to his name in a truncated start to his Colchester career. Gillespie is set to start only his second game since the end of October tonight.

Club skipper Chris Coyne is set to miss out with a knee problem, but otherwise the U's have no other injury worries.

Keeper Jimmy Walker's loan spell from West Ham expired last week. Lambert remains hopeful that he can bring the West Ham loanee back to the Community Stadium, perhaps on loan for the rest of the season, but no deal had been struck yesterday.

Dean Gerken is therefore on standby to return to first team action, if Walker's short-term future is not sorted out.


MK DONS: Gueret, Lewington, Stirling, O'Hanlon, Cummings, Johnson, Leven, Navarro, Wright, Wilbraham, Baldock, Powell, Flo, Howell, Gerba, Llera, Abbey.

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

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