We must come out fighting - Brown

COLCHESTER United's no-nonsense defender Wayne Brown insisted he and his team-mates will have to take the blow of Saturday's defeat at Huddersfield “on the chin,” and come out fighting against managerless Walsall this evening.

By Carl Marston

COLCHESTER United's no-nonsense defender Wayne Brown insisted he and his team-mates will have to take the blow of Saturday's defeat at Huddersfield “on the chin,” and come out fighting against managerless Walsall this evening.

The U's superb sequence of results came to an abrupt halt at the Galpharm Stadium, with the Terriers riding their luck to secure a 2-0 victory.

That ended a run of 10 victories on the trot, and was also only the U's second defeat in their last 24 fixtures. The damage was minimal, because the Essex club are still in second position, although they cannot really afford another slip-up tonight.

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Brown was recalled to the starting line-up at Huddersfield, after a recent operation on his scalp, and he looks sure to retain his place against the Saddlers, especially as fellow centre-half Garry Richards is a definite non-starter due to a one-match suspension, incurred for his red card on Saturday.

“We have to take the defeat as a knock on the chin, and make sure that we bounce back. We have had a lot of highs and taken a lot of praise in recent months, so now we have to take the knocks,” explained Brown.

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“I thought we played really well (at Huddersfield), especially in the first-half. We created so many chances, but we couldn't put them away.

“We've played a lot worse and won this season, like against Scunthorpe last Tuesday. Even when we went down to 10 men, I still felt that we could get back into it. The second goal was a killer, though we still kept going forward and had the chances.

“We didn't have any luck, but then I must admit that we've had our fair share of good fortune over the last 10 to 12 games,” added Brown.

Former Ipswich and Watford defender Brown had missed the previous four games, following the operation on his scalp. But he had been a regular during the first half of the campaign, and manager Phil Parkinson recalled him in place of Pat Baldwin for Saturday's Yorkshire test.

“I count myself lucky to be back in the team so soon,” continued Brown.

“Having the operation was of paramount importance. There was nothing I could do about that, and the lads did well in my absence.

“We're not thinking about the Chelsea cup-tie. Instead, we need to repeat our performance from the Huddersfield match against Walsall. We played well against Huddersfield, but we must make sure that we apply the finishing touches.

“Our strikers have done well for us this season. We couldn't buy a goal last year, but our front three or four have all been amongst the goals and players like Neil Danns and Greg (Halford) have chipped in with goals.

“Saturday was just one of those days. We must take the positives onto this next game,” concluded Brown.

Baldwin came on as a substitute during the second-half, following Richards' unfortunate dismissal for a professional foul on Terriers front-runner David Graham.

Brown and Baldwin are therefore set to form the central defensive pairing tonight, although Liam Chilvers is also pushing for a place after recovering from his recent hernia operations. Chilvers travelled to Yorkshire, but was not in the final squad of 16.

Places are up for grabs for this Sunday's glamorous FA Cup fifth-round tie at Premiership leaders Chelsea, so no player can afford a dip in form tonight.

A win over Walsall, who parted company with their former manager Paul Merson last week, could see the U's regain top spot in League One, depending on how leaders Southend fare at promotion rivals Brentford.

However, a second defeat on the bounce could cost United their place in the top two. Furthermore, they could then lose further ground this weekend, due to their continued interest in the FA Cup.

Although their winning run is at end, the U's can still point to a marvellous home record - 12 successive wins at Layer Road.

Midfielder Kem Izzet, who has missed the last three matches with an ankle injury, is also added to the squad.


COLCHESTER UNITED (from): Davison, Duguid, Baldwin, Brown, White, Halford, Watson, Danns, Yeates, Iwelumo, Garcia, Williams, Chilvers, Elokobi, Izzet, King, Stockley, Thorpe and Gerken.

WALSALL (from): Oakes, Pead, Roper, Mills, Wright, Osborn, Keates, Smith, Timm, Barrowman, Gerrard, Fox, James, Nicholls, Demontagnac, Gilmartin, Bradley, Atieno and Tilt.

n The remaining tickets for Colchester's FA Cup fifth round tie at Chelsea on Sunday, go on general sale from tomorrow morning. Season ticket holders, CUSA members and those with six or more Match Credits have a last chance to claim their priority tickets today, including after the Walsall match.

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