Sheringham all set to make U's debut

TEDDY Sheringham will make his long-awaited debut for Colchester United this afternoon, against Premier League visitors Bolton Wanderers (kick-off 3pm).

By Carl Marston

TEDDY Sheringham will make his long-awaited debut for Colchester United this afternoon, against Premier League visitors Bolton Wanderers (kick-off 3pm).

Sheringham became arguably the highest profile signing in the Essex club's history, when the former England, Tottenham, Manchester United and West Ham striker put pen to paper on a permanent contract a month ago.

U's fans have been looking forward to catching a glimpse of Sheringham in the blue-and-white of Colchester, and they will get their first chance today.

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In fact, although the stage is much smaller, Sheringham playing for Colchester United is the U's answer to David Beckham turning out for LA Galaxy! It has certainly been the talk of the town. The 41-year-old, who is the oldest player ever to grace the Premier League, has struggled to overcome a niggling calf injury over the past few weeks, causing him to miss all the previous pre-season games.

But Sheringham is a welcome addition to the U's squad against Sammy Lee's Bolton. He is set to play at least some part of today's game. U's boss Geraint Williams revealed last night: “Teddy (Sheringham) is in the squad, and I don't put anyone in the squad who is not fit to play. He has had a good week's training under his belt, and he's come through fine.

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“I think this will be our sternest test of the pre-season, because Bolton will provide us with some Premier League opposition. It will be a good challenge.”

The visit of Bolton, who will be playing in the UEFA Cup again this season, combined with the promise of Sheringham in action, should ensure a bumper crowd at Layer Road. The two main absentees will be Bela Balogh and Kevin Watson. Both are set to miss the opening day of the Championship season at Sheffield United next Saturday.

Hungarian international Balogh signed a season long loan deal from MTK Hungaria on Thursday, but he is currently sidelined by a badly broken nose sustained during the previous evening's 1-1 draw at Bromley. The 23-year-old has had his nose reset, but must avoid physical contact for a while.

Midfielder Watson, meanwhile, has been haunted by a sore Achilles tendon in recent weeks. Williams continued: “Kevin (Watson) has seen a specialist and the good news is that he doesn't need an operation.

“He has had an injection instead. This worked the last time he had one, so hopefully the Achilles will react in the same way. He just needs to rest it at the moment. The injection should have settled it down.”

Meanwhile, keeper Dean Gerken and defender Pat Baldwin are both in the squad, despite taking knocks over the last week.

No. 1 choice keeper Gerken sat out the second half of Tuesday night's disappointing 4-2 defeat at Gillingham, due to a sore hip, while Baldwin picked up a niggle during the early stages of the previous weekend's 1-1 draw against a Liverpool XI.

Gerken's fitness is crucial, because his goalkeeping coach and reserve custodian, Aidan Davison, is currently receiving treatment for an injury to his lower back.

U's squad: Gerken, Duguid, Connolly, Baldwin, Granville, Yeates, Guttridge, Jackson, McLeod, Lisbie, Platt, Sheringham, White, Elokobi, Izzet, Guy, Cousins.

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