Where was John Ward?

WHERE was John Ward on Saturday?

The U’s assistant boss wasn’t present at Colchester’s 2-1 defeat in Huddersfield because he was off on a secret scouting mission.

Manager Aidy Boothroyd admitted as much and, although he wouldn’t reveal exactly who the transfer target was or where the game was, he did leave a few tantalising clues.

“It’s in the north,” said the U’s boss with a grin. And when asked if the game in question had been in League One he paused before adding, ‘no’.

With no Championship fixtures on Saturday, that almost certainly means that Ward was at a League Two match – but which one?

Boothroyd admitted after the game that he will be looking to rectify his side’s lack of goals following their latest defeat and also revealed that he is interested in Hartlepool’s prolific loanee striker Roy O’Donovan.

If, on that basis, you assume that his priority is to sign a forward then a number of potential League Two targets jump out.

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Lee Hughes has scored 30 goals for champions Notts County this season – two of those coming in Saturday’s 5-0 home win over Cheltenham. Should Ward have visited that game then he would have also been able to check on U’s winger Medy Elito, who is currently on loan at The Robins.

Elsewhere, 23-year-old Adam le Fondre has scored 25 goals for Rotherham, a team who are also likely to have a shot at promotion through the play-offs, while another name in the frame includes Rochdale’s 6ft 3in striker Chris O’Grady. The 24-year-old has scored 22 goals this season, with The Dale having already secured promotion.

Should Colchester recruit a striker from a lower division then they would be hoping that he could replicate the success of Norwich City’s Grant Holt who has set League One alight this season after stepping up from League Two club Shrewsbury last summer.

Meanwhile, Boothroyd also confirmed that he and assistant Ward would be attending a game today to take a look at another transfer target. That could well be one of the two Blue Square Premier play-off semi-final second legs which consist of Luton v York and Oxford United v Rushden & Diamonds.

One player Boothroyd did confirm he is looking at is Hartelpool loanee Roy O’Donovan. The Irish 24-year-old scored twice against the U’s in their recent 3-1 defeat at Victoria Park and has now scored nine goals in just 13 games for the relegation-threatened side.

Employed by Premier League side Sunderland, O’Donovan is out of contract in the summer. Reports in the north east claim that Southampton are also interested in his signature.

“Roy O’Donovan is a player I like,” admitted Boothroyd. “I thought he did very well against us but he’s just one of many I’m looking at.”

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