Striker curse haunts U's

COLCHESTER United have certainly had no luck with strikers this season!

Carl Marston

COLCHESTER United have certainly had no luck with strikers this season!

The news that Karl Hawley has returned to Preston early, before his loan deal expired this weekend, sums up United's misfortune with front-runners. Hawley missed the last three games of his loan stay due to injury.

With the one exception of Clive Platt, who has only missed a handful of games all season (including today's trip to Hereford due to family issues), it has been a tale of woe up front.

Club record signing Steven Gillespie has been dogged by injury, almost from the moment that he signed from Cheltenham Town for �400,000 last summer.

Gillespie has only started eight league games all campaign, although he has managed five goals. An ankle injury again prevents his involvement at Edgar Street this weekend.

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Scott Vernon and Jamie Guy failed to establish themselves in the first team, and are currently on loan at Northampton and Dagenham & Redbridge respectively, while Sunday-Akanni Wasiu has also struggled to make an impression in League One.

Which brings us to the loan signings - and this is where manager Paul Lambert's luck has really ran out!

Sam Williams (from Aston Villa), Jermaine Easter (from Plymouth) and Hawley (from Preston) have all had spells with the U's over the last few months, but between them they have only managed 12 appearances and three goals.

All three returned to their parent clubs early, due to injury.

New signing Ashley Vincent, who moved on loan from Cheltenham in March, with a view to a permanent deal, is set to enjoy his third start up front this afternoon.

Vincent could play as a solo striker, due to a lack of options, or he could team up with Mark Yeates or makeshift target man Anthony Wordsworth up front.

It speaks that volumes that of these three choices, Vincent and Yeates are both natural wingers, while Wordsworth is a midfielder! Otherwise, the strike-force cupboard is bare.

Below is a break-down of the strikers used by Colchester United in all competitions this season, in terms of appearances (substitutes in brackets), (goals after the names):

42 (4) Clive Platt (10 goals)

19 (20) Scott Vernon (4)

11 (9) Steven Gillespie (5)

5 (0) Jermaine Easter (2)

4 (12) Sunday-Akanni Wasiu (2)

4 (0) Karl Hawley (0)

3 (0) Sam Williams (1)

2 (1) Ashley Vincent (0)

1 (3) Jamie Guy (0)

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