Ward keeps his players on their toes

THE fear of losing the shirt will prevent any form of complacency from Colchester United’s players at ‘crisis club’ Plymouth this afternoon.

U’s boss John Ward has shown on numerous occasions this season that he is not afraid to make sweeping changes to his starting line-up if he feels it is required. It therefore came as no surprise when he made four alterations to his team following their disappointing 2-0 loss at Notts County recently.

In doing so he has appeared to have stumbled across a golden formula with the U’s hitting some of their best form of the season over the last week. Having swept aside an in-form Walsall side 2-0 with ease at home last weekend, the same side followed that up by ending a poor spell of away form with a fine 1-1 draw at high-flying Peterborough on Tuesday.

However, Ward was quick to say that he may not necessarily name an unchanged side for the third successive game this afternoon as he continues to keep his players on their toes.

“It was a huge effort in both our last two games, two big energy performances with it having been on a heavy pitch on Tuesday too,” said the U’s boss. “I’ll look at them, see if I can play the same side again or whether it needs one or two tweaks. I’ve asked the players to accept whatever decisions are made for the benefit of the team.

“When my players look at the bench and see the players coming back they realise that everybody’s position is under threat so hopefully that adds a little bit of edge to the people in the shirts.

“Ian Henderson was fantastic on Tuesday but he’s got Ashley Vincent behind him who is a fantastic player and who only came out of the side through illness. David Perkins is playing down the left side but he knows Woody (Anthony Wordsworth) is a good player.

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“Just look at the forward position. Kayode’s (Odejayi) made a big impact since he’s come back into the team, (David) Mooney’s playing well, Matthias (Vilhjalmsson) had a nice little cameo against Walsall and everybody wants (Steven) Gillespie to play so there’s great competition.

“I’ve got an international and a fans’ favourite not in the team there, but I’ve got to be strong enough to pick the right pair haven’t I? It’s great that I’ve got people like that waiting to show what they can do.”

Gillespie has missed the last three games with a hamstring injury but joins back up with the squad this weekend having played for the reserves in midweek.

Plymouth, whose squad is thin on the ground following the sale of four players in January, are boosted by the return of midfielder Yannick Bolasie following a three-game suspension, although defender Onismore Bhasera is still out with a knee injury.

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

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