U's banking on their two secret weapons

COLCHESTER United midfielder Kem Izzet believes that the U's have two “secret weapons” to compete in the Championship, and both will hopefully be used to good effect against visiting Plymouth Argyle this evening.

By Carl Marston

COLCHESTER United midfielder Kem Izzet believes that the U's have two “secret weapons” to compete in the Championship, and both will hopefully be used to good effect against visiting Plymouth Argyle this evening.

United were unlucky to lose their opening day clash in the Championship, in their first ever season at this level, by a 2-1 score-line at promotion favourites Birmingham City on Saturday.

Tonight, Layer Road hosts the first ever league match in the second tier of the Football League. The U's will be gunning to over-run the Pilgrims and so collect their first points of the campaign.

“Everyone thinks that Layer Road will be our secret weapon, with some teams not fancying it at our ground,” explained Izzet.

“But I think that our biggest secret weapon will be teams under-estimating us. They might think that we're just little old Colchester, but they'll be in for a shock.

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“We know what we're capable of this season. I'm sure we will stay in this division.

“Some teams might think they can roll us over, but they'll be no chance of that.

“We should have got something out of the Birmingham game. It's not that we were unlucky. We just conceded two silly goals.

“They were down to 10 men and we were passing the ball around well. We were responsible for our own downfall.

“We missed several chances, and that's something we will be working hard on in training,” added Izzet.

Former Charlton trainee Izzet has had a frustrating couple of seasons. Ankle injuries restricted him to just three starts in 2004-05, and he spent much of last term on the bench.

But the 25-year-old is looking forward to a prolonged run in the team over the next few months.

“I'm just happy to be playing again. I haven't played much football in the last couple of years,” continued Izzet.

“I played on the right side of midfield at Birmingham, although I was able to tuck in. However, I didn't touch the ball as much as I would have liked, but that will come.”

Tonight's visit of Plymouth is the first of two games at Layer Road this week. Geraint Williams' side entertain fellow promoted side Barnsley on Saturday.

Williams is set to name an unchanged squad from Saturday's trip to Birmingham City, for two main reasons - the team played well at St Andrews, without any reward, and the Welshman has very few other options open to him.

Last season's leading scorer Chris Iwelumo appeared as a 67th minute substitute against City, after having his pre-season disrupted by injury. He will be pushing for a start.

That also goes for full-back John White, who started on the bench on Saturday. White, like Iwelumo,has spent some time on the treatment table after undergoing a minor hernia operation.

Visiting Plymouth chalked up a 1-1 home draw against Wolves on Saturday.

Veteran striker Barry Hayles was on target for the Pilgrims, on his debut, only for an own goal by Mathias Doumbe to peg back Ian Holloway's side.

Strikers Hayles and Sylvain Ebanks-Blake have been the two major signings of the summer. Hayles was snapped up from Millwall for £100,000, while Ebanks-Blake moved from Manchester United for an initial down payment of £200,000.That fee could potentially rise to a club record £350,000.

Former Jamaican international Hayles, who celebrated his 34th birthday in May, was given his chance in the League by then-Bristol Rovers boss Holloway in 1997. A year-and-a-half later, he was on his way to Fulham for a cool £2.1m. He went on to make more than 200 senior appearances for the Cottagers.

After a couple of seasons at Millwall, Hayles has now linked up with Holloway again on the Devon coast. A strong, powerful front-runner, he drilled home a right-footed shot after 35 minutes of his Pilgrims debut against Wolves.

The highly-rated Ebanks-Blake started on the bench, before making his bow as a substitute for Nick Chadwick, the former Everton striker, on the hour mark.

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