Tell me who to sub too! says Ward

CHANCES are those reading this article prior to this afternoon’s game at the Weston Homes Community Stadium have an opinion on what Colchester United team manager John Ward should pick.

The debate was raised in yesterday’s EADT as to whether midfielder Andy Bond needed a rest. Ward revealed he thought his non-league gem might benefit from a break, a claim the tireless 24-year-old refuted.

Then there is the theory that diminutive midfielders David Perkins and Kemi Izzet are too similar to play in the same side. The latter was dropped on Tuesday night at Notts County though and the U’s duly conceded two first half goals before their skipper came on at the break to steady the ship.

Numerous superb saves by Mark Cousins’ over the last three and a half games should see him keep his place in goal say some. Poor kicking and indecision by the deputy keeper means that the fit-again Ben Williams should return between the sticks today say others.

Last weekend a large number of fans actually voiced their thoughts when they began calling for striker Steven Gillespie to be introduced off the bench. Manager Ward eventually obliged and the home support went away with a feeling of vindication after their golden boy netted a stoppage-time winner.

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Football is a game of opinion – that’s what makes it great. And while Ward recognises that fact, he explained that he has to have the conviction to stick by his choices.

“I take things off the top and after I watched the Arsenal versus Barcelona game on Wednesday night I thought to myself they don’t change what they try to do. They might change a player but they don’t change their overall philosophy.

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“I’m working at a considerably lower level but at the same time we have to have confidence in what we’re trying to do as a team and a club because if I come in one day and suddenly say ‘scrap this and scrap that’, then they’ll go ‘what?’

“The whole thing would be tipped upside down so the one consistent person has got to be me.

“We want to play and want to pass. Sometimes we’ve been given good reports for that and on the times we haven’t done it I get criticised, but so do Arsenal, Manchester United etcetera.

“I’ve got to be strong in my beliefs. I had a lot of advice last Saturday to put Steven Gillespie on but no-one actually chanted who I should take off! Bringing Steven on is easy but we can’t play with 12 – let me know who you want to come off guys!

“That’s fun, it’s good fun, but sometimes I have to stop and figure things out a bit more. I’m not trying to be clever, but I wonder if any of those advisers would have taken Ashley Vincent off and put Gillespie on the right-hand side? Maybe not eh? Maybe I got criticised for that as well? Who knows, who knows.

“That’s the point I’m making, I’ve got to stay with my beliefs and what I’m trying to do. If I’d made those attacking substitutions too early last week then we may have lost the game.

“Sometimes I’ll be right and sometimes I’ll be wrong, same as everybody. The only difference is I have to do it publicly.

“I had this discussion with the season ticket holders at our meeting recently. One guy said, why does John never pick the same team as me? The problem with that is that my team is the only one that ever wins or loses, no-one elses team does because it never plays.

“At five o’clock I can pick a better team than I did at three o’clock. We can all make better decisions after the event.”

– For the Colchester United team as soon as it is announced, follow Stuart_Watson on

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