Ward wants Seven Up

COLCHESTER United might be sporting a smaller squad this season, but manager John Ward is no fan of the new five substitutes rule.

COLCHESTER United might be sporting a smaller squad this season, but manager John Ward is no fan of the new five substitutes rule.

In fact Ward believes that the shelving of the old seven substitutes allowance will deter him from giving valuable first team experience to some of his younger players.

United’s current squad is slimmer than their equivalent at the start of the previous campaign, due to the departure of the likes of David Perkins, Lee Beevers, Simon Hackney, Sam Corcoran and loanee David Mooney.

But Ward would still rather be able to name a squad of 18, rather than the new 16-strong squad.

“I don’t like the idea of five subs for this season,” explained Ward, in the build-up to this Saturday’s opening day fixture at Preston.

“I would rather have seven. It gives me a chance, and a lot of managers think the same, to put young boys on the bench.

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“We had Jordan Sanderson getting 15 minutes against Bristol Rovers last season, not just as a token, but to see how he coped with it.

“He got on with it and did very well, and I now know I have got a player who can deal with that.

“This year is going to be difficult, because if one of the substitutes is always going to be a keeper, then that leaves me with just four,” added Ward.

The U’s boss believes the rule change – implemented by the Football League last month – should never have been allowed to happen.

He continued: “There was no need for them to change the rules, because the rules were any subs up to seven, and Portsmouth never chose seven and no one complained.

“It was not a problem. So they could have left it totally at seven, and let us choose how many we wanted.

“It is annoying for me as a manager and as a coach, in terms of trying to develop players and young people, particularly at a club like ours, to give them a chance on the bench or even on the coach to just gain experience.

“So I am not happy with it, but I have to get on with it.

“Having seven substitutes kept players sweeter. It keeps them a bit happier, but now I am going to have to say to certain people that you are not going to get a shirt and you are not coming on the trip.

“The idea came from chairmen, not ours by the way, but a group of chairmen wanting to cut costs.

“We as the managers never got an input into that, so I’m disappointed,” concluded Ward.

In addition to Sanderson, the U’s have a number of promising youngsters on their books, pushing for first team recognition, including Bradley Hamilton and Craig Arnott.

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