Tierney the protector

WHILE Mark Yeates works his magic down the left flank, it's Marc Tierney's job to offer him protection.

Carl Marston

WHILE Mark Yeates works his magic down the left flank, it's Marc Tierney's job to offer him protection.

Colchester United left-back Tierney has impressed since his loan move from Shrewsbury at the end of last month. Now he is getting used to playing behind Yeates, who has recently switched wings from the right to the left.

Tierney was cup-tied on Tuesday night, as the U's bowed out of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy at Luton Town. But the 23-year-old should return this afternoon, against promotion-chasing Scunthorpe, with Yeates again his likely partner down the left touch-line.

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“I just have to concentrate on defending when Mark (Yeates) is around!” joked Tierney.

“I was playing behind Johnnie Jackson, who is more defensively-minded, but Mark has been playing up there recently.

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“I'm quite happy for him to play to his strengths. He's best at running at defenders, and taking them on. He gave the Leeds right-back (Andy Hughes) a real roasting last week, and it was a pleasure to watch him do it.

“It's my job to give him the ball whenever I can, and offer him protection. He doesn't have to worry about defending too much. He has a free role and he can stretch defenders,” added Tierney.

An in-form Yeates bagged his eighth goal of the season, thanks to a marvellous free-kick, to seal a 2-1 win at Leeds last weekend.

The U's will be looking to notch only their third home win of the season this afternoon, from 12 starts at their new Community Stadium, although a cracking away record has lifted them to 16th in the table.

In fact, United are gunning for a fourth win from five league games, against a Scunthorpe side who are currently in the League One play-offs.

Tierney is no stranger to adapting to life at a new stadium. He was at Shrewsbury when the Shropshire club moved from their traditional old home at Gay Meadow to the New Meadow stadium on the outskirts of the town.

In fact, the U's were the first visitors to the New Meadow for a competitive game, when the Shrews beat them 1-0 in the first round of the Carling Cup during the first week of last season. Tierney was in the side that day.

“There are a lot of similarities between the two stadiums, although it's slightly bigger here and there's more going on behind the scenes,” continued Tierney.

“The dressing rooms and the kit room are better, and I've been generally impressed with the professionalism of the club. I've settled down quicker than expected.

“The club is going in the right direction, in terms of eventually becoming a really good club in the Championship. When I was offered the chance to come here, it was too good an opportunity to turn down.

“We had the same problems of adapting to life at a new stadium at Shrewsbury, and I can't really put my finger on it. Teams tend to fancy their chances at a new ground.

“The best thing is just to relax and not put too much pressure on ourselves. The rest will take care of itself. We have quality players here, and it's best not to worry too much about what's happened before at home. We can turn it around.

“I think that Shrewsbury will win promotion (from League Two) this season, but Colchester is a step up from Shrewsbury.

“The league position does not lie, especially at this time of the season, but in terms of a club we can push on.

“In the short term, I think we can pick up the points to get far higher up the league, and in the long-term I think that we won't be in this league for much longer,” added Tierney, who is hoping to make his move from Shrewsbury a permanent one in the new year.

The U's last outing at the Community Stadium ended in a disappointing 2-1 home defeat to Hereford United. It was the Bulls' first away win of the campaign, and they doubled their away goals tally in the process.

Jermaine Easter scored for the U's that day, although the loanee striker has since returned to Plymouth Argyle after suffering medial ligament damage at Leeds.

Tierney admitted: “It's a big blow to lose Jermaine, because he was a strong striker who gave us something a bit different.

“But we have other options, including Scott (Vernon), who I knew very well from my time at Oldham. He's just not had that much luck at the moment.

“We were so disappointed to lose to Hereford, because we had set high standards for ourselves and we had so much of the ball. But we are very close to being a very good team.

“The crowd can play their part as well. In fact, the lads could hear our fans at Elland Road last weekend, above the Leeds fans. They were brilliant,” added Tierney.

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