Sam's hopefully not the man!

FORMER Colchester United loanee, Sam Williams, will be looking to end his old club's excellent run-on-the-road at Walsall this afternoon.

Carl Marston

FORMER Colchester United loanee, Sam Williams, will be looking to end his old club's excellent run-on-the-road at Walsall this afternoon.

And yet he firmly believes that Paul Lambert's men have what it takes to reach the play-offs this season, especially as they are unbeaten in their last six away league games.

Williams' planned one-month stay with the U's was cut short in mid-November, due to a hip injury that forced his premature return to Aston Villa, his parent club.


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But now the 21-year-old Welshman is fighting fit again, and embracing a new loan challenge at U's League One rivals Walsall.

He scored an 82nd minute equaliser in a 2-2 draw at Hartlepool last weekend, and is now hoping for his first start after four appearances as a substitute.

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“I was made to feel very welcome by everyone at Colchester, even though I wasn't there that long,” explained striker Williams last night.

“I haven't seen the lads since I left, so it will be good to catch up with them again. It doesn't surprise me that they have done so well.

“I think Colchester can get in the play-offs. Their players are that good.

“I noted their gaffer (Paul Lambert) was named manager-of-the-month for last month, and they just need to kick on now to make the play-offs.

“But I will be out to stop them this weekend. I feel I'm playing okay, and I'd love to start my first match against them,” added Williams.

Greenwich-born Williams scored on his U's debut at the start of November, by netting the winner in a 1-0 success at Bournemouth in a Johnstone's Paint Trophy fixture.

But he only made two more appearances, the last one ironically against his current club Walsall, before his enforced return to Villa Park.

Williams continued: “I'm glad to have got this new chance at Walsall. I've come here to get more games under my belt.

“I was disappointed to have my spell at Colchester cut short. I tore a muscle in my hip, which kept me out of action for six weeks. It was a case of getting treatment at Villa and then starting to play again.

“Aston Villa then signed Emile Heskey (�3.5m from Wigan), which meant that they could afford to let me go out on loan again.

“Walsall have several good strikers, especially the experienced Michael Ricketts, who has played at the very highest level.

“Michael has just got himself fit again, and I'm looking forward to learning off him. I'd love to start this weekend,” added Williams.

Walsall are only one place behind the U's in the League One table. But they are a distant 12th, sitting five points adrift of United.

“We're in mid-table, but we will keep pushing,” insisted Williams.

“You never know what's going to happen. We'll be pushing Colchester hard. Every team around us is looking upwards.”

And Williams is pleasantly surprised with how well Aston Villa are faring in the Premier League this season. Martin O'Neill's men are third in the table, above both London giants Chelsea and Arsenal.

“I think everyone has been surprised with what Villa have achieved this season. We all knew that they had good players, but no one thought they could feature so highly.

“They certainly have it in them to finish in the top three,” added Williams, who is still waiting to make his Villa debut.

Squads

WALSALL: Gilmartin, Palmer, Weston, Gerrard, Boertien, Nicholls, Hughes, Bradley, Zaaboub, Ricketts, Williams, Ibehre, Deeney, Belshaw, Smith, Davies.

COLCHESTER UNITED: Walker, Maybury, Baldwin, Reid, Tierney, Yeates, Hammond, Izzet, Perkins, Platt, Vernon, Gobern, Hackney, White, Guy, Wordsworth, Heath, Cousins.

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