Rallying cry from Steven Gillespie

STEVEN Gillespie has called on his team-mates to improve results and ease the pressure on U’s boss John Ward.

The Colchester manager was targeted by a section of disgruntled supporters at the Weston Homes Community Stadium on Saturday after Chesterfield won their first league match in 17 attempts.

The result was of course hugely disappointing but the manner of the performance – with the U’s well below-par for all but 10 minutes of the first half – also gave rise to some vocal concern.

But the striker, who scored his fourth of the season with a well-executed finish, believes the spotlight should be on the players rather than the manager as inconsistency continues to blight Colchester’s season.

Gillespie said: “We understand their frustration as we know we didn’t play well. They pay their money so have the right to voice an opinion.

But we need to start turning this place into a fortress and we can only do that by improving and winning.”

Ward and his team were forced to listen to some chants calling for the manager’s head near the end of Saturday’s match before they trooped off to the sounds of ‘what a load of rubbish’.

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But Gillespie said: “It is up to the players to turn things around. The players are definitely behind John. He has been very good to me, he signed me when I was 19 and he has given me a chance here.”

The manager admitted he shared the fans’ disappointment but praised their loyalty to the cause as the U’s slipped to 15th in League One.

Ward said: “People can make their shouts whenever they want – they have to get their disgruntlements out somewhere and managers are easy targets. I just want to make sure I get better results for them.

“They are supporters of Colchester, the same as me. When it goes well, we enjoy and when it doesn’t go well we are disappointed. The main thing is that they stay with the team and I am sure they will.”

Ward revealed that he had received no new bids for his players as rumours persist that higher league suitors are circling around big centre-back Magnus Okuonghae.

And the U’s boss believes the Weston Homes Community Stadium will be a quiet place over the last few days of the January transfer window.

He added: “If I can bring anyone in, I will – I’m no different to the other League One managers.

“But that doesn’t stop for me in January, we can do loans after which we are more likely to do.”

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