Ward rallies troops ahead of Owls clash

“Bring it on!”

That is the rallying cry of Colchester United boss, John Ward, ahead of today’s high-profile clash against promotion-chasing Sheffield Wednesday.

The biggest crowd of the season will be at the Weston Homes Community Stadium, with numbers swelled by the promise of up to 3,000 Owls supporters.

The U’s were thumped 4-1 at strugglers Bury on Easter Monday, after serving up one of the poorest displays of their season, resulting in their biggest away defeat.

They cannot afford a repeat against Wednesday, otherwise they will be trounced in the manner that MK Dons (5-1) and Stevenage (6-1) inflicted heavy defeats upon Ward’s men at the back end of last year.

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Wednesday are vying with Sheffield rivals United for the second and last automatic promotion slot, behind champions-elect Charlton. But that doesn’t frighten Ward, and it hopefully won’t frighten his players.

“The organisation and discipline to our team was missing at Bury, and has got to be recovered immediately,” insisted Ward.

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“But I’m not sure I could pick a better game than this one.

“I might have picked Charlton, because they are top of the league and localish, but in terms of a name football club in our division, Sheffield Wednesday is it.

“They expect to be playing at a higher level, but they’re not, and they have spent a lot of money on their team.

“Sometimes there is a little more on a game, and this is one of those games

“So bring it on, that’s great!” added Ward.

Wednesday are just two points behind second-placed Sheffield United, with four games left. They are unbeaten in 10 games, with eight wins and two draws.

By contrast, the U’s are without a win in nine games. Ironically, their last victory was at league leaders Charlton (2-0 on March 6).

However, Magnus Okuonghae should return to the heart of defence, after missing the 4-1 defeat at Bury due to a thigh injury. But midfielder Martin Rowlands will continue to miss out with a pulled hamstring.

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