U's set to appeal

COLCHESTER United have appealed against Clive Platt's sending-off in Saturday's pre-season friendly against Bolton, although the striker will be available for this weekend's Championship opener, regardless of the outcome.

By Carl Marston

COLCHESTER United have appealed against Clive Platt's sending-off in Saturday's pre-season friendly against Bolton, although the striker will be available for this weekend's Championship opener, regardless of the outcome.

Manager Geraint Williams insists that the U's have a good case for having the red card overturned, and so enabling Platt to avoid a three-match suspension.

Whatever the outcome of the appeal, Platt will be allowed to play in the U's opening day visit to Sheffield United, as well as next Tuesday evening's Carling Cup tie at Shrewsbury. Any ban would kick-in the following Saturday, when the U's host their first home match of the campaign against Barnsley.


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However, Platt's strike-force partner, Kevin Lisbie, is a doubt for this Saturday's visit to Bramall Lane, due to an ankle injury.

Platt told the EADT last night: "The fact that the club are lodging an appeal gives me hope that I might avoid a suspension.

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"I've had several chats with the gaffer. He's asked me about the incident, and I told him that it was unintentional. He's looked at the video a few times, and seen what's happened.

"The Bolton players reacted in the same way as our players. There was no malice in the challenge. It was just a freak incident.

"It's not nice when you get caught in the face by an arm. But this occasionally happens when you both jump for the ball.

"I'm just continuing to prepare for this weekend's game at Sheffield United. Hopefully, I will be involved. I've been led to believe that any suspension would not start until the following weekend," added Platt.

Understandably, Platt is desperate to avoid a three-match ban so early in the campaign. The 29-year-old wants to make an immediate impression in his first taste of Championship football, following a £350,000 move from MK Dons a month ago.

He made his feelings clear straight after the Bolton game, insisting: "I know that I caught him (Bolton defender Lubmoir Michalik), but it was unintentional. I had my eyes fixed on the ball, so I wasn't even looking at him."

Manager Williams said last night: "I think we have good grounds for an appeal. It is not a frivolous appeal, by any means.

"The reaction of the Bolton players said a lot. A number of them came over to the referee (Mike Thorpe) and tried to persuade him not to do anything silly.

"As a result, I have studied the video closely and talked to Keith Hackett (Head of Referees), who put me in touch with Keren Barrett (Divisional Officer).

"They have told me that they do not feel it would be a frivolous appeal, so we have decided to appeal against Clive's potential ban. We will know the outcome by the end of the week," added Williams.

Meanwhile, fellow summer signing Lisbie might have to delay making his competitive U's debut, depending on how his sore ankle reacts to treatment this week.

Jamaican international Lisbie, who spent 11 years at Charlton before his move to Layer Road, scored three goals in pre-season, including the opener in last Saturday's 2-1 defeat by Premier League visitors Bolton.

Lisbie has looked sharp in the warm-up matches, but he limped off after 55 minutes against Wanderers, to be replaced by Jamie Guy.

Williams confirmed: "Kevin (Lisbie) has been having treatment with Tony (Flynn) and has not trained so far this week. He turned his ankle against Bolton, and we will wait until the end of the week before making a decision on his fitness."

Saturday's opponents Sheffield United, relegated from the Premiership last term, have been busy in the transfer market this summer, especially over the last few days.

The Blades splashed out £4m on striker James Beattie from Everton last weekend, and also swooped to sign Australian international defender, David Carney.

The experienced Beattie is set to partner fellow summer signing, Billy Sharp, in attack against the U's. Sharp was recruited from League One champions Scunthorpe for a £2m fee.

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