U’s hope it’s not grim up north

ALL roads seems to be heading north for Colchester United this season.

ALL roads seems to be heading north for Colchester United this season.

Having won in Derbyshire in their last game on the road, against Chesterfield, John Ward’s men are in the north-west this afternoon.

They have already tasted victory in this part of the country, 4-2 at Preston on the opening day, and they have further trips to nearby Bury and Oldham later in the season.

But today Rochdale are the hosts, one of the few clubs in League One who have a smaller fan-base and a smaller income than the Us.

United will be keen for a repeat of last year’s win at Spotland, especially as they are on the road yet again next weekend – back up north at top six club Sheffield Wednesday.

Pat Baldwin has struggled all week with a sore toe and he might not recover in time to play today.

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Centre-half Baldwin’s big toe was accidentally stood upon, during the first half of last weekend’s 2-2 draw against Yeovil.

The former Chelsea trainee braved the pain to complete the match, but he did not even attempt to put on his boots until Thursday of this week.

Matt Heath is ready to deputise, if Baldwin fails a fitness test.

Striker Steven Gillespie and midfielder John-Joe O’Toole are both pushing for starts, although both might again have to be content with a place on the bench.

On the long-term injury front, winger Ashley Vincent, who picked up a knee injury at the end of the first week of the season, played 45 minutes for the reserves in midweek. He will be hoping to back in first-team action before the end of this month, and should play for the reserves again on Tuesday.

Manager John Ward said: “At least we don’t have to rush Ashley (Vincent) back in, because we have got Michail (Antonio) for another month on loan.”

Keeper Mark Cousins, who has missed the last three games with a sore shoulder, continues to miss out.

Ward confirmed: “Mark Cousins is back training again, but not doing dives and saves, just general handling work. Next week is a chance to move that on.”

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