U’s will go all out to break Galpharm duck
COLCHESTER United manager John Ward will encourage his side to go on the attack at high-flying Huddersfield today.
The U’s have failed to win at the 24,5000 capacity Galpharm Stadium in all seven visits there – and the odds are against them breaking that duck this afternoon considering The Terriers having won their last three league matches to move up to second in the League One table.
It’s Colchester who will take the most confidence from their last result though, the Essex side having recorded a morale-boosting 2-1 home win over Bournemouth last Friday while Huddersfield were surprisingly thumped 4-0 at Carlisle on Tuesday night in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.
“We think they’ll be positive, we think they’ve got to come forward, but my team talk will be ‘what if we can score first?’” said Ward. “Will that cause one or two doubts after their 4-0 defeat? Then again, if they score first they will feel it’s their day to get that result out of their system.
“There’s a real good game in prospect and we’ll go very positive to get a result for ourselves.”
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Colchester were roundly beaten 3-0 by Huddersfield in the reverse fixture back in October, but Ward – although very complimentary of counterpart Lee Clark – believes being away today might not necessarily be a disadvantage to his side.
“Are they automatic promotion contenders? Absolutely they are and so they should be, the size of their club and they way they’ve gone about it. They’ve got super players.
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“When people ask me who is the best team you’ve played so far I tell them Huddersfield because they took us apart that day, they were very clinical, very organised and when we went after them they dismantled us quite convincingly.
“I said at the time the best team won on the day and I just hope they don’t play like that again on Saturday.”
He continued: “I have got big respect for Lee (Clark). There is that added responsibility though – I don’t like the word pressure – for him to get them promoted. He understands that and there’ll be ten, twelve thousand there on Saturday that demand that. That goes with the territory he’s taken on, but he’s handled it extremely well so far.
“The first goal could have a vital effect on peoples’ confidences on both sides, so the first 20 minutes will be a real eye-opener for me and Lee as to how our teams are looking.
“There’s no question we’ve got a tough game on our hands but I think he’ll be thinking the same thing you know and hopefully he’ll get one.”
U’s full-back John White is available again today after missing last Friday with a back injury but is more likely to replace Lee Beevers in the back four than Ben Coker after the latter enjoyed an impressive Football League debut against Bournemouth.
Huddersfield – who have ex-Ipswich Town trio Alan Lee, Jordan Rhodes and Gary Roberts in their squad – are without highly-rated keeper Alex Smithies today after he recently underwent knee surgery. Ian Bennett will instead play in goal, with the experienced Nick Colgan having been signed this week as back-up.
Defenders Thomas Kadar (hamstring) and Liam Ridehalgh (glandular fever) are out, but teenage striker Benik Afobe – who is on loan from Arsenal – is available again after a back injury.
– For live match updates from this afternoon’s game follow Stuart_Watson on www.twitter.com. Half-time and full-time reports, as well as match reaction, to appear on www.greenun24.co.uk.