Ward aims to end U’s limbo period

COLCHESTER United manager John Ward is hopeful his side can bring a ‘limbo’ period to an end against Notts County today.

The U’s have now drawn eight of their opening 12 league games following last weekend’s goalless stalemate at Oldham – a run of results which has left fans of the Essex club not quite sure how to assess their start to the season.

On a positive note just one league defeat sees them remain at the heart of the tightest of tables, with just five points separating fourth to 17th.

Of concern though is the solitary home win, a run of five games in all competitions without victory and a failure to score in the last three.

“We’re in limbo at the moment,” admits Ward, ahead of today’s visit of a Notts County side that have acquitted themselves well following promotion as runaway League Two champions.

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“We’re not losing games but we’re not winning either. It’s a real bugbear, not only for the players and myself, but also the fans. I can promise you though we are working on it.

The story of Notts County’s season so far has been a similar one to Colchester’s with the Magpies often not being able to secure the results to match some impressive performances. Craig Short’s side did superbly against Sheffield Wednesday at home and Carlisle away earlier this month but somehow managed to lose both games 2-0 and 1-0 respectively.

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It therefore came as little surprise when they beat Plymouth 2-0 at home last weekend, however Colchester can take heart from the fact that the Meadow Lane outfit have looked a far more vulnerable outfit on their travels so far.

Colchester’s only fresh injury concern today is midfielder Andy Bond. The 25-year-old, who has proved a big hit since his arrival from non-league side Barrow this summer, twisted his knee following a late tackle from Dean Furman at Boundary Park last weekend. The early prognosis was bleak however a scan has revealed less damage than first feared and, having returned to training on Thursday, he could yet feature this afternoon.

Meanwhile, Notts County have suffered a major blow this week with the news that central midfielder Neal Bishop has been ruled out with a knee injury. That means that in-form forward Craig Westcarr will probably have to move back to the wing to accommodate a change.

The Magpies have three former U’s defenders in their ranks although only one is likely to feature today.

Centre-back Mike Edwards (who made five appearances for Colchester in 2003) should start, however Liam Chilvers – a major part of the 2006 promotion side – is likely to be on the bench, while Stephen Hunt (at Layer Road from 2004-06) is out with a hamstring injury.

– Full match preview, including more from U’s boss John Ward, likely line-ups and interviews with opposing defenders Magnus Okuonghae and Mike Edwards, see today’s EADT.

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