U’s look to salvage something from south west double header

COLCHESTER United players and staff had an honest exchange of views yesterday in an attempt to salvage something from their south west double header.

The U’s are at third-bottom Bristol Rovers tonight having lost 2-1 at rock-bottom crisis club Plymouth Argyle on Saturday.

The Essex side have now taken just two points from their last 10 away games and have dropped 24 points over 15 games against sides in the bottom half.

They will have to overcome both of those Achilles heels tonight if they want to keep alive any hopes of finishing in the top six – the U’s now seven points adrift .

“I didn’t say much to my players at the end of the game because I wanted to think it through,” said Ward, having witnessed the 10-man Pilgrims end a six-game losing streak by claiming victory over his side courtesy of a soft penalty.

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“I knew I had them at my mercy over the weekend (the U’s squad having stayed down in the south west at an Exeter hotel) so I was able to think about what I wanted to say and at least make it constructive.

“My players will be okay, they’ll be fine. They’re very honest with me and each other and know they could have, should have done better. We don’t kid each other.”

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With Colchester having taken 22 players down to the south west – John-Joe O’Toole in the squad for the first time in 10 months following a cruciate knee injury – Ward has plenty of options if he wants to make alterations to his starting line-up today.

Following two fine performances against Walsall and Peterborough he named an unchanged side for the third successive game on Saturday but the U’s boss may now be thinking about freshing things up.

Bristol Rovers have now lost six of their last seven games following Saturday’s narrow 1-0 loss at Brentford.

The Pirates beat Oldham 1-0 in their last home game though and, having been unfortunate to be beaten by a controversial penalty at the weekend, they will be looking to get some vital points towards their relegation fight tonight.

– For live match updates, follow Stuart_Watson on www.twitter.com.

BRISTOL ROVERS: Logan, Green; Senda, Ifil, Coles, Sawyer, Bolger, Cooper; Lines, Kalala, Williams, Hughes, Reece, Davies; Hoskins, Howe, Kuffour, Richards.

COLCHESTER: Williams, Cousins; White, Heath, Clarke, Coker, Beevers, Baldwin, Powell, Bender; Vincent, Izzet, Bond, Wordsworth, Henderson, James, Perkins, O’Toole; Mooney, Gillespie, Odejayi, Vilhjalmsson.

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