Options aplenty as U’s aim to bounce back

COLCHESTER United manager John Ward has been thinking long and hard about how to set his team up against Hartlepool this afternoon.

The U’s started the season with a 4-3-3 formation and, despite playing some attractive football, it produced more draws than victories.

A switch to a 4-4-1-1 system then yielded four successive wins, but last weekend’s 2-1 defeat at Swindon has got the U’s boss thinking again.

And regardless of the formation he plays, Ward has a real selection headache after Ian Henderson scored a fine hat-trick and Anthony Wordsworth another for the reserves in midweek – both having been first team substitutes in recent weeks.

“I’ve spoken to my staff at length about what we can do better this week,” said Ward.

“Four weeks ago we were talking about where the goals were going to come from and recently it’s been about the goals conceded – it never stops.

“I’m aware that people will be sitting in the pub before the game discussing what team and formation they think I should pick, but I’m fine with that. Opinion is what makes the world go round.

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“This week I held a management meeting and we talked about being strong on decisions. We’re all good at seeing things after the event, but you’ve got to try and stop things happening. Shapes and systems are just a starting point.”

Ward reintroduced Magnus Okuonghae and Marc Tierney to his back four last weekend following their respective recoveries from injury, although their lack of match fitness was apparent at times. Loanee left-back Tom Williams is unlikely to feature again today as he is still feeling the effects of a groin injury and has suffered with flu this week.

– For full match preview, see today’s EADT. For live match updates from this afternoon’s game, follow Stuart_Watson on www.twitter.com.

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