Ward not taking Glovers for granted

COLCHESTER United boss John Ward isn’t taking anything for granted ahead of today’s visit of lowly Yeovil.

The Glovers are just a point off the bottom of League One following a miserable return of just one point from their last seven matches.

It is therefore a massive opportunity for the seventh-place U’s to propel themselves back into the play-offs – possibly even the top two – ahead of the busy Christmas schedule.

However, having just about scraped past non-league minnows Swindon Supermarine by a score of 1-0 in the FA Cup second round two weeks’ ago and beaten League Two side Bradford City on home turf by the odd goal in seven in the previous round, Ward knows all about the dangers of hosting a side with little to lose.

“They’ve got a problem or two, but nobody should take this match lightly,” said the 59-year-old.

“I’ve been where they are in the league with some of my other clubs – sometimes you go out and forget your position and play freely.

“We saw that in the cup ties – we had to work hard to get those victories.

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“They’ve got good players who are very capable of scoring goals in (Sam) Williams and (Dean) Bowditch and we’ll have to be on our mettle to prevent any problems.

“We won’t mention positions in the league to the players before the game.”

Colchester, whose game at table-toppers Brighton was postponed last weekend, will be without left-back Marc Tierney and midfielder Andy Bond today after both recently underwent hernia surgery.

Magnus Okuongahe (ankle), John-Joe O’Toole (knee) and Morten Knudsen (knee) aren’t due back until the New Year.

The only other doubt for the U’s is nine-goal striker David Mooney who was told to stay away from training this week after picking up an illness. Should the on-loan Irishman not be passed fit, Ward may revert back to the 4-3-3 formation which he started the season with.

Due to the recent cold weather conditions, Yeovil haven’t had a game since November 23, with Terry Skiverton’s side having lost their last four league games to Bournemouth, Charlton, Dagenham & Redbridge and MK Dons.

The Somerset outfit have plenty of East Anglian links in their squad in the form of Adam Virgo and Sam Williams (both former U’s loanees), Dean Bowditch, Gavin Williams and Ed Upson (all ex-Ipswich Town), Craig Calver (ex-Southend) and Owain Tudur-Jones (on loan from Norwich).

Yeovil Town have a longer history with the U’s than most due to the fact the pair were Southern League rivals for many years from the 40s onwards.

Glovers fans will no doubt gleefully recall their shock 5-1 thumping of Colchester in the FA Cup a decade ago, however Yeovil have failed to beat the U’s in their seven meetings since that day with the Essex side having done the double in this fixture for the last two seasons.

– For full match preview, see today’s EADT. For live match updates, follow Stuart_Watson on www.twitter.com.

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