Platt aims to derail Baggies bandwagon

COLCHESTER United striker Clive Platt returns to his West Midlands roots this afternoon, hoping to derail the promotion bandwagon of hosts West Brom.Target man Platt was born at nearby Wolverhampton, and started his career at Walsall.

Carl Marston

COLCHESTER United striker Clive Platt returns to his West Midlands roots this afternoon, hoping to derail the promotion bandwagon of hosts West Brom.

Target man Platt was born at nearby Wolverhampton, and started his career at Walsall. Today's visit to The Hawthorns is therefore extra special for a player who admits that the U's are likely to be relegated, but not without a fight!

“It does look like we are going to be relegated, but it's not confirmed yet, so there's always a chance,” insisted Platt last night.


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“We are not looking at the bigger picture. We are not looking at relegation, but rather just focusing on the West Brom game and then seeing where that leaves us.

“We have six games left and we want to produce performances that we can be proud of. We don't want to be turned over like we were at Norwich (5-1 defeat). That wasn't like us.

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“We want to finish each game knowing that we have given it our best, and then we'll see where that leaves us. I want us to show passion and pride.

“I'm looking forward to the West Brom game. We managed to beat them at home (3-2), but playing West Brom at The Hawthorns is one of the most difficult fixtures in the Championship.

“I used to play just down the road from them, at Walsall, and we will be up for the battle,” added Platt, who was a trainee at the Bescot Stadium and played 43 games for the Saddlers between 1996 and '99.

From a personal point of view, Platt's first ever season in the Championship has been a satisfactory one, with eight goals to his name and an established partnership with fellow front-man Kevin Lisbie.

However, the 29-year-old has only scored one goal since Boxing Day, a record that he wants to put right over the closing games.

Platt continued: “I'm not on a good goal-scoring run at the moment, I admit that! I want to score a few more goals, to help the team to get a few more points.

“It hasn't helped that I've had a few different partners up front, due to all the injuries, but me and Lis (Lisbie) have developed a good understanding.

“Lis seems to be scoring every week, but it's a shame that his goals have not brought us more points. He's been struggling with a calf injury since the Norwich game, but he's got a good chance of playing this weekend,” added Platt.

Lisbie hobbled off during the second-half at Carrow Road, but not before he had chalked up his 15th goal of the season. He faces a late fitness test this afternoon.

Long-term casualties Mark Yeates, Kevin Watson, Teddy Sheringham, Kevin McLeod, Danny Granville, Luke Guttridge and Aidan Davison remain on the sidelines.

However, skipper Karl Duguid is set to return after a knee injury, and centre-half Chris Coyne is also named in the squad after shaking off a sore hamstring. Fellow defender Pat Baldwin and striker Jamie Guy were both unused substitutes at Norwich, following their respective injuries, and deputy keeper Mark Cousins returns to the bench after a bout of appendicitis.

Hosts West Brom are currently in fifth spot, four points adrift of the second automatic promotion slot but with two games in hand. Their squad will be strengthened by the return of Chris Brunt and James Morrison after hamstring and ankle problems.

Baggies boss Tony Mowbray said: “We can't be over-concerned by Colchester's plight. Our concentration levels have to be high. I have every respect for the opposition, regardless of where they are in the league.”

Squads

WEST BROM: Kiely, Hoefkens, Albrechtsen, Cesar, Robinson, Gera, Koren, Pele, Greening, Phillips, Miller, Bednar, Danek, Morrison, Brunt, Clement, Kim, Martis.

COLCHESTER UNITED: Gerken, Ifil, Virgo, Coyne, White, Duguid, Hammond, Izzet, Jackson, Platt, Lisbie, Vernon, Wordsworth, Elito, Balogh, Baldwin, Guy, Cousins.

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