Promotion the priority for U's

COLCHESTER United boss Aidy Boothroyd says promotion is his 'absolute priority' as his side return to league action at Brentford tonight.

Stuart Watson

By Stuart Watson

COLCHESTER United boss Aidy Boothroyd says promotion is his 'absolute priority' as his side return to league action at Brentford tonight.

The U's have an FA Cup third round tie at Preston North End coming up in the New Year, but - with his side currently third in League One - Boothroyd doesn't want a cup run to detract from his main goal of getting the club back in the Championship.

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After John-Joe O'Toole's last gasp winner at Hereford sealed progress to the FA Cup third round on Saturday, Boothroyd said: “I've been on a cup run before when Watford got to the semi-finals so I know how it can be great for your season.

“It must not take away from the absolute priority though which is the league. If I see any player taking their eye off the ball and thinking about the next round then I will not hesitate to drop them.”

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Boothroyd has made a point of saying that he is not afraid to drop players in the past and he proved that on Saturday when leaving out midfielder Anthony Wordsworth.

The versatile left-winger had been out-of-sorts in the successive 2-2 draws against Exeter and Oldham and was subsequently dropped from the side at Hereford on Saturday.

However, with the U's unable to break through the League Two side's defence, Wordsworth was brought on with 15 minutes to go and it was his low cross that set up O'Toole for the stoppage time winner.

“I left him out because I thought he needed it,” said Boothroyd. “I didn't think he played particularly well in the previous two games so I decided he needed a little bit of a reminder that nobody's place in the team is safe.

“I thought he showed me why he's in the team when he came on (against Hereford) though.”

The U's boss made four changes to his side on Saturday; Wordsworth, David Fox, Clive Platt and Ifil all dropping out of the team for Simon Hackney, Kemi Izzet, Steve Gillespie and Marc Tierney respectively.

Fox's absence was enforced - the midfielder having aggravated a rib injury in training - and he will now undergo oxygen treatment over the coming days, while Tierney was reinstated following a one game suspension.

Boothroyd must now decide whether club record signing Gillespie, as well as Hackney, have done enough to retain their starting places for tonight.

- For live match updates from Brentford v Colchester, follow the EADT's Colchester United reporter on - just search for Stuart_Watson.

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