U's and Town have Layer Road Sky date

COLCHESTER United's eagerly-awaited East Anglian derby against Ipswich Town will be screened live on Sky Sports TV.Town were originally due at Layer Road on Saturday, September 30 for the first league meeting between the two clubs for nearly 50 years.

By Carl Marston

COLCHESTER United's eagerly-awaited East Anglian derby against Ipswich Town will be screened live on Sky Sports TV.

Town were originally due at Layer Road on Saturday, September 30 for the first league meeting between the two clubs for nearly 50 years.

But that big showdown has been brought forward a day to the Friday evening, with 7.45pm kick-off. Town's last visit to Layer Road was a goal-less draw on February 16, 1957 in the season that they won the Division Three South title and the U's finished third.


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Colchester defied the odds to win promotion to the Championship last season after finishing second in League One but they have since been rocked by manager Phil Parkinson's resignation.

The Essex club refused to accept Parkinson's resignation, and have since been granted an injunction stopping him from speaking to another club - Hull City are keen to appoint him as their new manager and will therefore be challenging the injunction in court later this week.

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Parkinson's assistant Geraint Williams is in temporary charge of team matters at Layer Road in the absence of Parkinson or a new manager. He is already looking forward to the visit of Ipswich, although his first priority is to make sure that pre-season runs smoothly.

“Ipswich coming to Layer Road on a Friday night should be a fantastic occasion. There's bound to be a great atmosphere,” revealed Williams last night.

“There are some massive games coming up next season and we must remember that we are not playing big-name clubs on their past glories but as they are now. We did so well to get promoted, but now we want to stay up here.

“We have beaten Championship clubs in cup competitions in recent seasons (Coventry City, Derby County and Sheffield United) and we want to do the same in the league.

“The players will be reporting back on Wednesday and Thursday of this week to have their fitness assessed and pre-season begins at Essex University next Monday.

“Naturally, the club is in limbo at the moment, with the manager's situation, and it will stay that way until a new manager is appointed. But a plan is in place for pre-season,” added Williams.

The former Ipswich and Derby midfielder is no stranger to taking charge of the U's. He was the caretaker boss for a month, between the regimes of Steve Whitton and Parkinson during February, 2003. The Welshman boasted a four-match unbeaten run.

Meanwhile, former Ipswich Town assistant manager Willie Donachie has joined League Two club Millwall in a similar role.

New Millwall manager Nigel Spackman said: “Willie is a fantastic coach, very organised and enthusiastic and the players will enjoy working with him.

“The appointment of my assistant has to be the right choice. We will do a lot of work together and consequently I need to trust him. I trust Willie completely and his experience will be invaluable for us.”

Previously Donachie has mainly worked with Joe Royle, being the latter's right-hand man at Oldham, Everton, Manchester City and Ipswich. Royle is still on a break in Majorca after departing Portman Road in May

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