Table not past motivates Ward tonight

COLCHESTER United boss John Ward says the opportunity to usurp Carlisle at the top of the League One table is all the motivation he needs ahead of tonight’s visit of the Cumbrians.

Greg Abbott – the man who assisted Ward during his mixed one year spell at Brunton Park – has made a superb start to the season after a busy summer in the transfer market,

The U’s have made an unbeaten start to the new league campaign themselves though, meaning victory this evening – the first match of an experimentative return of Friday night football at the club – would see them temporarily reach the table’s summit.

“That in itself should be enough motivation for everyone,” said Ward, whose side will also host Peterborough on a Friday night (Jan 28).

“People say that the league table doesn’t count for anything until 12 games in, while you hear managers say they would rather be somewhere in May than August. Whatever anyone says though, being up there does feel good.”

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Ward’s appointment as U’s boss this summer marked his return to full management for the first time since his acrimonious depature from Carlisle at the end of 2008.

The 59-year-old did exceptionally well to guide the club to the League One play-offs in his first season in charge – the Cumbrians narrowly losing 3-2 on aggregate to Leeds in the semi-finals.

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However, a disatrous start to the following campaign (including a 5-0 defeat at the Weston Homes Community Stadium) saw Ward depart by ‘mutual consent’ after claiming just 14 points from an available 45.

His assistant Abbott was promoted to the hotseat and he narrowly avoided relegation in his first season. A 14th place finish last season followed, while he appears to have pieced together a strong squad at Brunton Park over the summer.

“The game doesn’t mean any more to me because of what’s happened before,” said Ward.

“I look back on my period there very fondly and don’t have any regrets.

“I think they have recruited well over the summer, but I’m happy to put my line-up against theirs to see how it goes.”

– For full match preview, including the latest injury news, see today’s EADT. For live match updates from tonight’s game, follow Stuart_Watson at

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