Ward would like some more happy Cup memories

JOHN Ward has had a taste of FA Cup glamour as a manager, but he is hungry for more.

JOHN Ward has had a taste of FA Cup glamour as a manager, but he is hungry for more.

The Colchester United boss led out his Cheltenham side for an FA Cup fourth round tie against Newcastle United, Alan Shearer and all, while he was in charge of the Robins in 2006.

He has also been to Wembley, in his role as Watford assistant manager during Graham Taylor’s regime 27 years ago.

But the 60-year-old is now ready to bring some Cup success to Colchester. First, though, his U’s side must negotiate a tricky first round tie at struggling Crewe Alexandra this afternoon.

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“As a player my Cup experiences were not great, because I was lower down the leagues at Lincoln,” explained Ward, who was an Imps striker in the 1970s.

“As an assistant manager, we got to the FA Cup Final in 1984 (2-0 defeat to Everton), and I’ve been to the semi-finals as a coach.

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“As a manager, the best one was probably at Cheltenham, when we played Newcastle in the fourth round at home. That was a great occasion.

“So I have some good memories, though not enough of them,” added Ward, whose Cheltenham side were beaten 2-0 by the Magpies .

The big guns of the Premier League and Championship do not enter the competition until the third round, so the U’s must overcome Crewe and then their second round opponents to secure a potential money-spinning tie.

Ward will hand a Colchester debut to Casey Thomas, signed on loan from Swansea City eight days ago. Thomas will play on the right flank.

Hosts Crewe have new manager Steve Davis in charge for the first time, following Dario Gradi’s decision to step down from first team managerial affairs on Thursday.

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