U's could be out of bottom three tonight

COLCHESTER United will be out of the bottom three by this evening, if they can record a second win on the bounce at Hull City.The U's have yet to chalk up back-to-back wins this season.

Carl Marston

COLCHESTER United will be out of the bottom three by this evening, if they can record a second win on the bounce at Hull City.

The U's have yet to chalk up back-to-back wins this season. The closest they've come was in October, when home victories over QPR and West Brom sandwiched a defeat at Stoke City.

Otherwise, Geraint Williams' men have restricted themselves to no more than one win a month, in August, December, January and February.


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But they have a rare chance of a double victory this week. Having completed a league double over Preston on Tuesday evening, thanks to Johnnie Jackson's late winner in a 2-1 success, they are now setting their sights on another three points at Hull.

It's a big test. The Tigers have only lost one of their last 10 league games, and are a mere two points adrift of the play-offs.

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But the U's have a big incentive - win today and they will be out of the relegation zone for the first time since early December!

Sheffield Wednesday and Preston, the teams immediately above them, are not in Championship action today. The Owls have no game this weekend, while the Lilywhites will be entertaining Premier League visitors Portsmouth in the fifth round of the FA Cup tomorrow.

So if the U's could record a fourth away win of the season, then they would end the day in 21st spot. They have been stuck in the drop zone ever since crashing to a 4-1 defeat at Cardiff on December 8.

Sheffield Wednesday could strike back next week, because they play managerless Coventry City on Tuesday evening. Basement club Scunthorpe travel to mid-table Wolves on the same night. Colchester have no midweek fixture.

Midfielder Dean Hammond and striker Kevin Lisbie both face late fitness tests on calf and ankle injuries respectively, but Williams is unlikely to make too many changes to the squad. Defenders Bela Balogh and Pat Baldwin, together with leading scorer Mark Yeates (shoulder) and striker Jamie Guy (hamstring), did not even travel yesterday.

The Tigers signed two ex-Colchester stars in Wayne Brown and Richard Garcia last summer, although only one of them will play today.

Centre-half Brown will start his 31st successive league game for City, but attacker Garcia is currently on compassionate leave back in his native Australia, due to family reasons.

Squads

HULL CITY: Myhill, Ricketts, Turner, Brown, Pederson, France, Ashbee, Walton, Okocha, Barmby, Campbell, Folan, Marney, Featherstone, Doyle, Welsh, Bridges, Tyler.

COLCHESTER UNTIED: Gerken, Ifil, Virgo, Coyne, White, Duguid, Izzet, Jackson, McLeod, Platt, Vernon, Sheringham, Watson, Guttridge, Granville, Hammond, Lisbie, Cousins.

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