Williams hopes fresh start benefits U's

COLCHESTER United boss Geraint Williams is hoping that his team will be fresh for their first game for 17 days at Barnsley tonight.The U's have been stuck on the training ground, and twiddling their thumbs at home, during this unscheduled “winter break.

Carl Marston

COLCHESTER United boss Geraint Williams is hoping that his team will be fresh for their first game for 17 days at Barnsley tonight.

The U's have been stuck on the training ground, and twiddling their thumbs at home, during this unscheduled “winter break.”

It seems an age since their last outing, an encouraging 1-1 draw at Bristol City on January 12.


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You have to look back to the 1985-86 season to find a longer break between competitive matches. Bad weather disrupted that Fourth Division campaign for Cyril Lea's men - there was a three-week gap from November 23 to December 14, and a massive 25-day period without a game during February, 1986.

However, January has been a productive month for Geraint Williams' basement dwellers, at least in terms of Championship points.

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They will not host a league match throughout this month, but have picked up four points from two games on the road at Charlton (2-1 win) and Bristol City.

“It's very disappointing not to have played more games, on the back of two such good results away from home,” admitted Williams.

“We wanted to keep the momentum going. It's a very, very long time between games, because of the weather (postponed home game against Hull due to a waterlogged pitch) and the FA Cup (third round exit).

“It's been a strange time for everyone, especially the new lads (Chris Coyne and Phil Ifil). But at least it's given them time to get know the other lads on the training ground.”

Since the signings of Coyne and Ifil, Williams has tried, but failed, to bolster his squad. He narrowly missed on the purchase of left-sided specialist Daniel Fox from Walsall and also had a bid for Brighton skipper Dean Hammond turned down.

Meanwhile, tonight the U's will be without keeper Aidan Davison, defender Pat Baldwin, midfielder Kevin Watson and winger Kevin McLeod.

Watson has only played one game in the last two months, due to calf problems, although he did enjoy an hour's outing for the reserves at Norwich City last Monday week.

Williams said: “There is another game for the reserves on Wednesday (against Chelsea), and Kevin will play in that one. Aidan (Davison) is happy with what's happened after the exploratory operation on his shoulder. He just has to wait for it to settle down.

“Pat (Baldwin) is suffering from some tendonitis in the knee, while Kevin (McLeod) has problems with sciatica.”

Squads

BARNSLEY: Muller, Van Homoret, Foster, Souza, Tiniho, Campbell-Ryce, Hassell, Ricketts, Howard, Nardiello, Ferenczi, Macken, Kozluk, Togwell, Odejayi, Devaney, Coulson, Leon.

COLCHESTER UNITED: Gerken, Ifil, Coyne, Virgo, White, Yeates, Izzet, Guttridge, Jackson, Platt, Lisbie, Sheringham, Duguid, Balogh, McLeod, Guy, Elokobi, Granville, Cousins.

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