Sit up and take notice - Yeates

STAR winger Mark Yeates wants people to sit up and take notice of Colchester United.After a woeful start to the season, the U's are finally beginning to make progress up the League One table following back-to-back wins over Yeovil and Northampton.

Carl Marston

STAR winger Mark Yeates wants people to sit up and take notice of Colchester United.

After a woeful start to the season, the U's are finally beginning to make progress up the League One table following back-to-back wins over Yeovil and Northampton.

Paul Lambert's men will be strongly fancied to make it a hat-trick of wins this afternoon, when bad travellers Hereford United are the visitors to the Weston Homes Community Stadium. The Bulls have only collected one point on the road all campaign.

Yeates sees this fixture as a good chance for the U's to consolidate themselves in mid-table, and so build a platform for an assault into the top half of the league.

“People will begin to sit up and take notice of Colchester, if we can continue to climb the league. That's what we want,” insisted leading scorer Yeates.

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“At the start of the season, people were looking at us to push for promotion. There's no reason why we can't still push for that, because there's always one team that makes a strong run up the table.

“We've played well in patches at home, and I think we should have won more matches than we have done, especially early on and then against Millwall (2-1 defeat) as well).

“We have some momentum. We're trying to push up the league, so we need to get on a run. No disrespect to Hereford, but this is a great chance for us to get three points.

“Expectations are so much higher at the club than when I first arrived (initial spell in 2005-06). I was on loan (from Tottenham) and Phil Parkinson (manager) was just getting a good squad together, which ended with us getting promotion.

“The club has since had two years in the Championship, so people were expecting big things of us this season. The expectations have changed.

“Christmas will be an important period, because they are so many points on offer,” added Yeates.

The goals have dried up for Yeates over the last month, although the Dubliner is still the top scorer with seven goals, an impressive haul for a winger who tends to enjoy a lot of freedom around the park.

The 23-year-old was on the verge of a move to Crystal Palace last summer, only for the deal to be scuppered by a failed medical on a long-term shoulder injury. He has responded by winning more man-of-the-match accolades than any other U's player this term.

Several of his goals have come from free-kicks, although he has also been denied by the woodwork on several occasions.

Yeates continued: “I don't think I can hit my free kicks much better at the moment.

“I'd like to see a few more go in, but I've hit the post so many times this season, especially at home - that's happened four or five times, I've lost count.

“But I've got seven goals, which isn't a bad haul, and my target at the start of the season was to get 10 goals by Christmas. That is still a manageable target.”

There have been several changes to the starting line-up in recent weeks, especially with the arrival of loanees Jermaine Easter, Marc Tierney and Jimmy Walker, all of whom are expected to play today.

Furthermore, Yeates has had to form various different partnerships down the right flank, due to the chopping and changing at right back. The likes of John White, Phil Ifil, Johnnie Jackson and Pat Baldwin have all played just behind him during the last month.

“I just concentrate on my own game, who ever is playing at full-back behind me. It doesn't matter to me,” explained Yeates.

“The new players have benefited. I thought Marc Tierney looked very strong at Northampton (2-1 win) and I know Alan Maybury (triallist) from my days at Leicester. He's an Irishman like me as well.

“Jermaine Easter is a goalscorer, and he's given us something different up front. He has a lot of pace.

“All the strikers have their own attributes, but we've obviously suffered since Kevin Lisbie left (for Ipswich) over the summer and then Steven Gillespie got injured,” conluded Yeates.

The U's will again be without the injured trio of Gillespie (hamstring), left-back Matt Lockwood (tendonitis in knee) and centre-half Matt Heath (hamstring). Gillespie has at least returned to training.

Both keeper Walker and left-back Tierney will make their home debuts, after impressing in the 2-1 victory at Northampton.

Squads

COLCHESTER UNITED: Walker, Baldwin, Coyne, Reid, Tierney, Yeates, Hammond, Perkins, J Jackson, Platt, Easter, Izzet, White, Ifil, Vernon, Wordsworth, Wasiu, Gerken, Cousins.

HEREFORD UNITED: Weale, R Jackson, Gosling, Beckwith, Taylor, Johnson, Diagouraga, Smith, Ainsworth, Guinan, Williams, Done, Chadwick, Ashikodi, Rose, Easton, Hudson-Odoi, Samson.

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