U’s have a defensive dilemma ahead of Exeter visit
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Colchester United have only scored three goals in their last five league matches, and only four in their last seven in all competitions, but their main concern is of a defensive nature for the visit of fellow top-six side Exeter City tomorrow afternoon.
Boss John McGreal has just one senior centre-half available, in Frankie Kent, due to the absence of the experienced duo of Tom Eastman and Luke Prosser.
Club captain Prosser serves a one-match suspension, for accruing five bookings, while Eastman remains sidelined by a head injury, although he has returned to light training.
That leaves just Kent as the one recognised regular senior centre-back, although there are other options.
Cameron James, recently recalled from his loan spell at Braintree Town, has had considerable first-team experience in the past, although the 20-year-old has not played for the U’s in 2018 – his last outing was as a substitute in a 1-1 home draw against Port Vale on December 23, 2017. He has mainly played in central midfield during his dozen games for Braintree.
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Alternatively, teenager Ollie Kensdale, who made his first-team debut at Cambridge United in the EFL Trophy earlier this month, could be in line to make his league debut, while full-backs Ryan Jackson and Kane Vincent-Young have also had experience of playing as centre-halves in mainly a three-man system,
In addition to Eastman and Prosser, the U’s will also be without leading scorer Luke Norris (ankle) and keeper Rene Gilmartin (hamstring).
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However, midfielder Brandon Comley returns to the squad after his latest international exploits with Montserrat.
“Tom (Eastman) has been doing non-contact work in training,” revealed McGreal.
“And Luke (Norris) is going to be a matter of weeks rather than months. We’re looking at mid to the end of December.”
COLCHESTER: Barnes, Jackson, James, Kent, Vincent-Young, Pell, Lapslie, Senior, Szmodics, Dickenson, Nouble, Collins, Kensdale, Comley, Mandron, Wright, Gondoh & Ross.
EXETER CITY: Pym, Sweeney, O’Shea, Moxey, Martin, Woodman, Holmes, Tillson, Law, Taylor, Abrahams, Stockley, Forte, Ogbene, Collins, Croll, Oates, Jay & Hamon.
Referee: Ben Toner (Lancs)