Race against time

RICHARD Garcia faces a race against time to be fit for this Saturday's mouth-watering Championship fixture at Leeds United.Garcia has sat out Colchester United's last three games, due to an ankle injury.

By Carl Marston

RICHARD Garcia faces a race against time to be fit for this Saturday's mouth-watering Championship fixture at Leeds United.

Garcia has sat out Colchester United's last three games, due to an ankle injury. But he returned to training yesterday and has not ruled out a return to the squad this weekend.

“I have had problems with my ankle, but I desperately want to be fit for the Leeds game,” insisted right-midfielder Garcia last night.


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“A small flake came off the ligament, which left the ankle very sore. There was a little pain during my first training session, but that was to be expected.

“We'll have to see how the ankle reacts in the next 24 hours. I have a day's rest from training, and then hopefully the ankle will feel like brand new on Thursday.

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“There are some very big games coming up, and I want to be involved,” added Garcia.

The Australian 25-year-old enjoyed a fine first three months of the season, starting the U's first 14 league and cup games. He scored in the opening day defeat at Birmingham, and also nettted in the 2-1 home win over QPR.

But his luck ran out during the 2-1 defeat at Coventry City on October 23. He hobbled off with an ankle injury, after being caught late by a tackle, while team-mate Kevin Watson also limped off with a calf injury on the same night.

Garcia was set to miss the following game, at home to George Burley's Southampton, because of a one-match suspension for accruing five bookings. But the former West Ham trainee has also since missed the 1-1 draw at Norwich City, and last weekend's 3-1 victory over league leaders Cardiff City, because of injury.

His replacement, Kevin McLeod, has taken his chance with both hands. The former Swansea winger scored on his first start, in the 2-0 success over Southampton, and he was also on target in the shock win over Cardiff.

Meanwhile, Watson is a little behind Garcia in his efforts to return from injury, so Johnnie Jackson looks sure to start again in central midfield at Elland Road.

Manager Geraint Williams explained: “Kevin (Watson) has not returned to training yet. His calf is still sore, but that's not to say that he is definitely out for this weekend.

“We are hoping that Richard (Garcia) will make it. Time will tell. Kem (Izzet) also took a knock on his ankle during the Cardiff game, though he should be OK.

“Leeds have a strong squad, as does every club in this division. They might be struggling at the moment, but they will be out to impress their new manager Dennis Wise.

“It's a big game. We must go in the belief that we can get another three points,” added Williams.

Today's scheduled game for Colchester United Reserves, against Oxford United, has been postponed because Oxford are also involved in the FA Youth Cup.

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