Notts County v Colchester United, match preview: experience versus youth

Two of Colchester United's young guns, Sammie Szmodics (left) celebrating his goal against Lincoln w

Two of Colchester United's young guns, Sammie Szmodics (left) celebrating his goal against Lincoln with Mikael Mandron in midweek. Picture: STEVE WALLER - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Colchester United boss, John McGreal, has praised the “togetherness” of his squad ahead of tomorrow afternoon’s challenging trip to Notts County.

That “togetherness” will certainly be tested against the high-flying Magpies, when the young U’s cross swords with their older and more experienced opponents.

While McGreal’s starting XI regularly have an average age of around 22, Kevin Nolan’s County squad is packed with experienced, wily veterans, including strikers Jon Steed (34) and Shola Ameobi (36), and defenders Richard Duffy (32) and Carl Dickinson (30).

So it should be an intriguing clash tomorrow afternoon.

“It’s been a real team effort, and when the other boys have come in, they have had an effect as well. There’s been a real togetherness,” explained McGreal.

“The boys have put in a hell of shift to do it, because you look at the games that they’ve had of late – going away to the Coventrys and at home to the Lincolns.

“We have some big games coming up, against Notts County, Exeter and Swindon, but these are great times for the club because we’ve put ourselves in-and-around it (just two points off the play-offs), with all that good work.

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“We’ve had a couple of games when we haven’t been such a threat as I would have liked, such as Morecambe (0-0 last weekend), but we changed personnel around against Lincoln and it worked.

“We haven’t been going on the goal trail of last season, but we now have more solidity at the back and are a difficult side to beat. We have also been managing the games at the right time.

“The toughest ask now is to try and carry on our productive run (one defeat in 10 games).

“Notts County have got a lot of older players, who have played a lot more games, so it will be a totally different game to Tuesday.

“They’ve got quality players, like (Jon) Steed and (Shola) Ameobi, but we are in a bit of form ourselves.”


NOTTS COUNTY: Fitzsimons, Tootle, Duffy, Brisley, Dickinson, Hawkbridge, Yates, Milsom, Grant, Ameobi, Forte, Steed, Alessandra, Hewitt, Hollis, Smith, Hunt, Walker & Pindroch.

COLCHESTER: Walker, Eastman, Inniss, Kent, Jackson, Lapslie, Comley, Vincent-Young, Wright, Szmodics, Mandron, Hanlan, Slater, Odelusi, Kinsella, Reid, O’Sullivan, James & Gilmartin.

Referee: Mark Heywood (West Yorks)

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