Ward will ‘carry no passengers’

COLCHESTER United boss John Ward is happy to go into the new season with a small squad, rather than carry “any passengers.”

COLCHESTER United boss John Ward is happy to go into the new season with a small squad, rather than carry “any passengers.”

The U’s take on Jong FC Utrecht in Holland this lunchtime, in their third pre-season friendly, following last week’s 4-0 win over Maldon & Tiptree and a 3-0 success over Dutch side SDC Putten on Monday.

Ward’s men have been put through their paces in their Dutch training camp throughout this week, and the trip culminates in a game against a young Utrecht side at the National Sports Centre in Zeist (noon kick-off) before the squad returns to England this evening.

Ward has already urged patience in his search for a new striker, to give support to senior front-men Steven Gillespie and Kayode Odejayi, but he is not looking to add to his squad in other departments.

“I have spent a year building up my squad and I am happy with it,” explained Ward.

“I don’t want to mess it up, so there have been no triallists. I don’t like to give false promises to people.

Most Read

“It’s a smaller squad than we have had before, so I have got to manage it with the rest of the staff. We need to give them a bit of protection.

“At the minute, it’s only a striker that I am after, because I think the squad is nicely balanced. If they are all fit, then there is a good competitive nature in there.

“I don’t mind a small squad, and I don’t want to carry passengers. At the moment we haven’t got passengers.

“I don’t want an over-sized squad, I can add to that with loans if I need to,” added Ward.

Defender Magnus Okuonghae featured for the first time in pre-season against SDC Putten, following an operation on his ankle in February, while Matt Heath and Andy Bond also played after missing the Maldon fixture due to niggling injuries.

John-Joe O’Toole (carrying a knock), Ashley Vincent (sore back) and keeper Ben Williams (illness) all missed the SDC Putten clash, but should come back into contention today.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter