Williams a major doubt for Hartlepool

COLCHESTER United keeper Ben Williams is a major doubt for Saturday’s trip to Hartlepool United.

The 28-year-old came off at half-time of the 1-0 defeat at Charlton on Tuesday night having aggravated a back injury he was aware of before kick-off.

Williams – who had just started rediscovering his outstanding form of last season – may now be left behind in Essex when the team coach leaves on Friday morning as there is a fear that the long trip to the north east may worsen the problem.

The ninth-placed U’s are due to break up their journey with a training session in Leeds tomorrow before taking on a Hartlepool side just four points behind them in the table.

Mark Cousins, who performed well during his 12 game spell in the team at the start of the season while Williams was out with an ankle injury, will now regain his place.

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Former Leicester keeper Carl Pentney is likely to be on the bench for the first time since his arrival at the U’s on a free transfer last summer. The 21-year-old recently spent two months on loan at Blue Square Premier club Bath City, keeping three clean sheets in 13 appearances.

Meanwhile, Colchester United’s reserves beat a Nike Academy side 1-0 yesterday courtesy of an Ian Henderson goal. Norwegian full-back Morten Knudsen played another 90 minutes as he continues to recover from his long-term cruciate knee ligament injury. January signings Matthias Viljhalmsson and Conor Powell also played the full match as they seek full match fitness.

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Midfielder John-Joe O’Toole has had a couple of minor set-backs in his return from a cruciate knee ligament injury although manager John ward says they are to be expected.

Right-back Brian Wilson, who has been out of action since early December with an ankle injury, will start training again next Monday after being given the all-clear by his specialist this week.

Magnus Okuonghae is trying a two-week trial run of light training to see how his unusual ankle injury reacts. The centre-back has been out of action since the end of November after a innocuous blow received to his ankle led to blood flow problems which could potentially have damaging long-term effects if not managed properly.

– All the latest U’s news in tomorrow’s EADT

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