Regular Johnnie loving it
JOHNNIE Jackson is one of only two Colchester United regulars to have played every minute of every game this season.And despite the return from injury of fellow midfielder Kevin Watson, ex-Tottenham man Jackson is intent on preserving his record for a few weeks to come.
By Carl Marston
JOHNNIE Jackson is one of only two Colchester United regulars to have played every minute of every game this season.
And despite the return from injury of fellow midfielder Kevin Watson, ex-Tottenham man Jackson is intent on preserving his record for a few weeks to come.
Jackson and centre-half Pat Baldwin are the two U's players to have been on the pitch for every minute of the first 15 league and cup games of the campaign, and both should again start against visiting Plymouth Argyle this evening.
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While Baldwin will be hoping to mastermind only the team's second clean-sheet of the season, Jackson will be aiming to build on his individual performance against Leicester, which yielded his first goal of the campaign in a 1-1 on Saturday evening.
“I'm really enjoying my football. I've played every minute of every game so far, and long may that continue,” insisted Jackson,
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“My preferred position is central midfield, but different games require different things, so I was happy to go out on the left.
“Kevin (Watson) is a good footballer. He was brought up at Spurs, like me, and I reckon we play in the same sort of way,” added Jackson.
Watson made his first appearance of the season, following Achilles tendon and calf injuries, for the visit of Leicester. The 33-year-old limped off with cramp just after the hour mark, but will be hoping to figure again in central midfield.
Jackson spent most of last season on the left flank, and if Watson is passed fit, then he is again likely to be patrolling the wing. It's a position from where he has scored all of his three goals for the club, since his free transfer move from Tottenham in July, 2006.
“It's a long time since I scored, though I've had a few chances, including the first day of the season (at Sheffield United),” continued Jackson, who headed home Mark Yeates' cross for a 45th minute equaliser against the Foxes.
“We just need to carry on our home form. That is crucial. And we have been playing well at home. We weren't at our best against Leicester, but we have played a lot better and lost this season.
“It felt like a night game, because of the tea-time kick-off under the lights, and I'm looking forward to the same experience against Plymouth.
“They doubled us last season, so we owe them one. We were woeful away from home at their place (3-0 defeat), though they were lucky to win at Layer Road. That was a smash-and-grab result,” recalled Jackson.
Geraint Williams' men have taken seven points from a possible nine in their last three home games, following on from their wins over QPR and West Brom.
And while they have not yet reached the heights of last season, which included an incredible run of 11 home wins on the bounce, the U's are showing signs of re-establishing Layer Road as “Layerdrome,” a name conjured up by the players last term.
Wayne Brown had the distinction of playing every minute of every game last season. The former Colchester defender was the only outfield player to achieve that feat in the Championship.
It's a tall order for either Jackson or Baldwin to match the record of their ex-team-mate, but it's so far so good for the U's double act.
Colchester United: Gerken, Duguid, Baldwin, M Connolly, Granville, Yeates, Izzet, Watson, Jackson, Platt, Lisbie, McLeod, Elokobi, Balogh, Virgo, Guttridge, White, Cousins or Davison.
Plymouth Argyle: McCormick, P Connolly, Timar, Seip, Hodges, Martin, Norris, Nalis, Halmosi, Ebanks-Blake, Hayles, Easter, Fallon, Gosling, Doumbe, Larrieu.