Ward: We can cause an upset
COLCHESTER United manager John Ward believes his League One side can cause an upset at Championship high-fliers Swansea in the FA Cup today just over a year after the club received a thrashing at the same stage of the competition.
The U’s were despatched from the third round of the world famous club competition with their tail between their legs last January courtesy of a 7-0 thrashing at Championship club Preston North End.
Ward accepts that his side have an equally huge task on their hands today as they face a Swansea side just five points off the top of the second tier.
He still plans on going toe-to-toe with the Welsh side though – both sides likely to play a 4-3-3 formation – and refuses to rule an upset out of the equation.
“We’re going to have our work cut out,” said Ward, who is without a host of first choice players today through injury and illness.
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“But at the same time we won’t get on the bus thinking we don’t want to go because that would be pointless.
“There’s going to be a surprise in the FA Cup, there always is, and who knows it just may be us.”
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He continued: “It’s the kind of game which nobody knows is taking place unless we win. That’s exciting for us because there is nothing to lose and everything to go for.
“It’s a big club Swansea and they’re looking to get into the top league in this country. They’ve got a fantastic stadium, a reputation for playing some excellent football, so I think there’s a real chance here for us to play a team of this ilk and see how we can get on.
“If we come up short then so be it, we’ll know we’ve got a lot to do, but we could match them – why not?
“If we were to play Swansea 10 times we would probably get beat maybe eight or nine of them, but on the one occasion we might give them a game, find them on an off day and us on a really good day and we could take that victory.”
Colchester will today be without three of their first choice back four in the form of Brian Wilson (ankle), Magnus Okuonghae (ankle) and Marc Tierney (virus). In addition, Ward has chosen to rest Ashley Vincent after the winger played the last few games with a foot problem.
Captain Kemi Izzet and defender Pat Baldwin come back into contention after illness, David Perkins is available again following a one-game suspension, while midfielder Andy Bond should be fit following a minor ankle injury sustained in Monday’s 4-2 defeat at Leyton Orient.
Striker David Mooney can play after his loan from Reading was extended until the end of the season this week, however new signing Conor Powell isn’t in the squad as he is not due to arrive in Essex until Monday.
“Swansea are a renowned good footballing side and we’re trying to improve our footballing style too,” said Ward. “We’ll try to play against them and if we can learn something from them it will be a good experience.
“Realistically we’re expecting them to have a little bit more of the ball than we do, but certainly we’re going to have the ball at some stage and I’ve never gone into a game trying not to win it.”
Swansea manager Brendan Rodgers has regularly rotated his team this season and could make changes again today following his side’s 2-1 defeat at Leicester on Monday. Left-backs Alan Tate (suspended) and Neil Taylor (ankle) and midfielder Andrea Orlandi (thigh) are out, while right-back Angel Rangell will be rested.
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