Yeates is the man in form for U's

TONIGHT'S East Anglian duel will not be the biggest local derby of Mark Yeates' career, but it's one of the most important.Colchester United's flying winger is the in-form player in the Championship, having combined a string of dazzling displays with seven goals, five of them from free kicks.

By Carl Marston

TONIGHT'S East Anglian duel will not be the biggest local derby of Mark Yeates' career, but it's one of the most important.

Colchester United's flying winger is the in-form player in the Championship, having combined a string of dazzling displays with seven goals, five of them from free kicks.

Yeates will be hoping to add to his goal tally at Ipswich this evening, perhaps from another of his sublime free kicks, or from another coolly-taken penalty.


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Much could depend on whether Teddy Sheringham is on the pitch at the same time, but even the former England star would be hard pushed to take the ball off Yeates at the moment.

“I'm loving it, and I can't wait to take on Ipswich. It's such a massive game for the fans,” enthused Yeates.

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“I can't say that it will be the biggest local derby that I've played in, because I've played against Chelsea for Tottenham a couple of times. They're pretty big games.

“I also played in a few Midlands derbies when I was on loan at Leicester last season. But all the lads are looking forward to playing against Ipswich. It should be a good footballing game.

“I reckon that Ipswich play like West Brom, so it should be a very attacking game, and that should suit us.”

Yeates converted his fifth free-kick from the first 11 games this season, thanks to his eighth minute equaliser in the 3-2 win over West Brom on Saturday.

The Dubliner also slotted home the first penalty of his career, to secure the U's second home success, on 68 minutes against the Baggies. In both instances, Sheringham was sitting on the bench - the 41-year-old finally made his first appearance for more than a month as a 75th minute substitute, following all his hamstring problems.

“I think that I should still be ahead of Teddy (Sheringham) in the pecking order at the moment, in terms of taking the free-kicks,” continued Yeates.

“Teddy is a great player, and I was fortunate to be in the same Tottenham squad as him for a year-and-a-half before he left.

“But I'm feeling really confident from dead ball situations. I know that Jacko (Johnnie Jackson) wants to take a few as well, but he'll have to wait because mine are going in at the moment. We hadn't decided who would take the penalties on Saturday, if we got any. I just happened to be first to the ball. It was an important decision, and there was no chance of anyone else taking it and trying to blast it,” added Yeates.

It's all such a contrast to last season, when the unsettled 22-year-old managed just one goal throughout the 2006-07 season, during loan spells at Hull City and Leicester.

Yeates admitted: “It's no secret that I didn't enjoy my time at Hull. I went there thinking that I'd get regular football, and yet it didn't work out. I played well at Leicester, but without much luck.

“However, I'm hungrier for success now. It's good that I signed a permanent contract (from Tottenham), rather than end up being loaned out all over England again. The big difference is that I've started scoring goals as well as playing well.

“Coming to Colchester, it means that now my biggest games are against Ipswich. They should get the ball down and play, so I'm looking forward to pleasing our fans with another good result,” concluded Yeates.

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