On-loan Gareth can do U's a favour
COLCHESTER United front-runner Gareth Williams, who is currently on loan at Blackpool, is making a name for himself on the north-west coast.Williams was struggling to even get on the substitutes' bench at Layer Road, but he has warmed to his new task at Blackpool, helping to propel the Seasiders away from the League One relegation zone with some important goals.
By Carl Marston
COLCHESTER United front-runner Gareth Williams, who is currently on loan at Blackpool, is making a name for himself on the north-west coast.
Williams was struggling to even get on the substitutes' bench at Layer Road, but he has warmed to his new task at Blackpool, helping to propel the Seasiders away from the League One relegation zone with some important goals.
The Welshman obliged with the opening goal in a 2-0 win over fellow strugglers Walsall on Saturday, stretching the gap between the Seasiders and the bottom four to four points.
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And this weekend, Williams is looking to do his long-term employers Colchester a favour by springing a surprise on league leaders Southend.
In fact, the away game at Roots Hall is the first of four fixtures on the trot when Blackpool take on opposition from the promotion pack.
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“After what Southend did to Colchester a couple of times this season, I feel that I owe them one,” insisted Williams last night.
“I will be hoping to start at Southend this weekend, and to do Colchester a favour by helping the team to a win.
“Blackpool is a long, long way from Colchester, but I'm enjoying the experience and I'm getting a few games under my belt, which I wasn't really getting before.
“I'm here until the end of the season, but I don't know what will happen after that,” added Williams.
Former Crystal Palace striker Williams only managed two goals for the U's throughout this campaign, hitting the target in the 2-1 win at Sheffield United in the third round of the FA Cup, and then scoring in the 3-2 league success over visiting Bristol City just 10 days later. He only started 10 matches.
But during his brief stay at Bloomfield Road, the 23-year-old has already matched his goal-haul from Colchester. He scored the only goal of the game on his debut, as a substitute against Port Vale, and following away losses at Bradford and Oldham, he bounced back with the opener in the crunch victory over Walsall.
“It was a big win for us, and it was great to score. I beat the keeper with a left-footer,” confirmed Williams.
“We now have 47 points, so I reckon we need another two wins to be safe, hopefully starting at Southend.”
The U's will be keeping a close eye on Blackpool's results this month, and not just because of the presence of loan players Williams and Sam Stockley (he missed the Walsall match due to a calf injury).
The Seasiders entertain Swansea City on April 15, travel to Brentford just two days later, and then play at home to Barnsley on April 22. All these teams are chasing promotion.
Meanwhile, Phil Parkinson's men face a crucial match themselves this weekend, at Nottingham Forest, another of the promotion candidates.
The U's are unbeaten in four games, and they still have a good chance of snatching the second automatic promotion slot. They are three points behind second-placed Brentford, with a game in hand.