U's eager to get one over on ex-boss

COLCHESTER United have already suffered the bitter taste of defeat at the hands of one of their former assistant managers this month - and they don't want a repeat today.

Carl Marston

COLCHESTER United have already suffered the bitter taste of defeat at the hands of one of their former assistant managers this month - and they don't want a repeat today.

Mick Harford and Micky Adams both enjoyed brief spells as an assistant to Geraint Williams at Layer Road, and both are now managing another of their respective former clubs.

Harford guided his Luton team to a 1-0 win over the U's in a Johnstone's Paint Trophy southern area semi-final on January 16. The 49-year-old used to be a prolific striker at Kenilworth Road.


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Now it's the turn of Adams to cross swords with his old employers, as the manager of relegation-haunted Brighton.

Adams succeeded Harford as assistant at Colchester in July of last year - Harford was finding the round trip between his home and Layer Road to be detrimental to a long-term back injury.

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But after just six months, Adams also quit as the U's No. 2, stating a desire to get back into full-time management. This he achieved at Brighton over the summer, so returning to the club he managed with considerable success between 1999 and 2001, during which he guided them to the Division Three title.

However, it hasn't all gone to plan for Adams on his return to the Sussex coast. The Seagulls nosedived into the relegation zone last weekend, a fact that is not lost on the restless Withdean faithful.

Yet Adams is predicting brighter times ahead: “We will get better in the second half of the season,” insisted the Seagulls boss.

“I certainly don't see us as a bottom four side, but the facts don't lie at the moment. We've got ourselves into this mess, and we are going to get ourselves out of it!

“I'm very, very positive. I can understand calls for my head, and the players' heads, but I'm bigger and better than that.”

Adams can draw on considerable managerial experience, having been on the hot seat at Fulham, Swansea, Brentford, Leicester and Coventry.

He is certainly surprised to see his old club Colchester stuck in the lower half of the table.

“Looking at the Colchester side, I felt they would be up there,” admitted Adams.

“Having worked with the players, I know they were bitterly disappointed to lose their place in the Championship. The nucleus of the squad was very good and I'm really surprised to see them languishing where they are.”

The Colchester connection does not end with Adams. A couple of the Brighton playing staff plied their trade at Layer Road last term, although only one of them will be in action today.

Left winger Kevin McLeod is set to start against his old club. The former Everton 28-year-old has started just six league games this season, having moved from Colchester over the summer.

McLeod signed off in dazzling fashion on the final day of last season, scoring a quality brace in a 3-3 draw at Scunthorpe. But he lacked consistency during much of that relegation campaign.

Defender Adam Virgo, who was on loan with the U's from Celtic, was snapped up by Brighton in the close season. He has contributed four league and cup goals, but will miss out this afternoon due to suspension.

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