Ward: We want the points just as much as Tranmere

COLCHESTER United manager John Ward strongly refutes that hosts Tranmere need the points more than his side this afternoon.

The U’s are now in midtable and 13 points adrift of the top six following three successive defeats. It leaves them with little but pride to play for in the final 10 matches of the season.

Tranmere, meanwhile, face a fight to prevent dropping back down to the fourth tier of English football for the first time since the late 1980s. Currently they hover just three points above the drop zone.

“For people to say that they need the points more than us, well I think that’s just media speak,” said Ward.

“We want to win for our own sake.

“We know that, realistically, it’s going to be hard to push the top six now, but at the same time I will not let up on trying to get my players to improve and trying to get this team as high as we can.

“Finishing eighth last year was the fourth highest this club’s ever done and improvement on that is still a possibility to achieve.

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“We have to try and perform as well as we can every time we go out in the public eye.

“We have a pride in our profession and certainly here at Colchester United Football Club we have a pride in who we play for. We would be doing a massive, massive injustice to everyone that supports our club if we didn’t work as hard as we can to get wins over the next 10 games.

“There will be people going up to Tranmere on Saturday supporting us and I can’t have them thinking it doesn’t matter to us because it does matter to us. I’ll knock down anybody that suggests otherwise.”

Ward could hand New Zealand international centre-back Tommy Smith his Colchester debut today after he arrived on loan from Championship club Ipswich Town on Thursday’s deadline day.

Striker David Mooney is serving the final game of a three-match ban following his red card against Southampton, but right-back Brian Wilson could be handed his first start in over three months following his recovery from an ankle injury.

Tranmere have taken just two points from their last seven matches and have lost their last two home games by scores of 1-0 to lowly clubs Yeovil and Bristol Rovers.

The Merseysiders could be boosted by the return of wonderkid Dale Jennings today. The teenage forward has missed the last nine games with a groin injury but returned in midweek to score twice for the reserves.

However, loan striker Lateef Elford-Alliyu is unlikely to feature as parent club West Bromwich Albion have requested his knee injury be rested a little longer.

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

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