Yeates sets U's targets

COLCHESTER United's bang-in-form winger, Mark Yeates, is predicting a top-half-of-the-table finish this season.The U's are currently struggling down in 16th spot, and they face a daunting trip to runaway league leaders Watford this afternoon.

By Carl Marston

COLCHESTER United's bang-in-form winger, Mark Yeates, is predicting a top-half-of-the-table finish this season.

The U's are currently struggling down in 16th spot, and they face a daunting trip to runaway league leaders Watford this afternoon.

However, Yeates is adamant that United can upset the odds and take some reward from their visit to Vicarage Road, which is the Essex club's first since 1979.


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“We're scoring loads of goals, but we know that we're conceding too many,” explained Yeates.

“We've had a meeting about that. All the lads know that we need to shore up things, and it's not just down to the back four. It's the whole team.

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“I think that once we've ironed out this problem, we will start climbing the table. I think we are good enough for a top-half-of-the-table finish,” added Yeates.

Ex-Tottenham winger Yeates has enjoyed a fantastic start to the season, and his reward has been a call-up to the Republic of Ireland “B” squad for the friendly fixture against Scotland at Airdrie on November 20.

He is the U's leading scorer with seven goals, and has also created a host of goals for his team-mates, as was illustrated in the last two games.

The Dubliner delivered the cross for Johnnie Jackson to nod home the equaliser in a 1-1 draw against Leicester last weekend, and then fired in a stinging shot that keeper Romain Larrieu could only parry as Kevin Lisbie scored the rebound in Tuesday night's 1-1 draw against Plymouth.

Yeates continued: “Of course I'm happy with my form. I've got seven goals, but I should have scored a few more.

“There was the goal that hasn't been given to me at Southampton (Rudi Skacel own goals), and another that went down as own goal against QPR.

“Then of course I also missed the penalty at Ipswich, so I could have been on about 10 by now.

“But I'm in the side to create chances more than score them, so I was happy to set up our last couple of goals against Leicester and Plymouth. I thought we were unlucky not to win both those matches

“We are confident, but it's a big difference between getting three points and just one point. We need to transform some of our draws into wins.”

Yeates knows all about Watford's deadly strike-force of Darius Henderson and Marlon King, who have plundered 17 goals in 15 league matches. Their prolific form has been the prime reason why Aidy Boothroyd's men lead the Championship table by eight points.

However, the U's 22-year-old has faith in his own strike-force team-mates.

“Watford are a strong side, and they have two powerful strikers in Henderson and King. I rate them as one of the best pairings in the division,” admitted Yeates.

“I might be biased, but I think that our pair of Kevin Lisbie and Clive Platt are up there with them. I also think that (Pablo) Counago and (Alan) Lee are doing well for Ipswich.

“Watford is going to be one of the hardest games of the season, but I'm sure that we can do well there.

“We have fared well against the bigger clubs this season. We beat West Brom (3-2) and I thought that we should have beaten Charlton (2-2), if only we hadn't got a player (Matthew Connolly) sent off.

“It's true that Watford have come down from the Premier League and have kept onto most of their players. But I think its all about us, and how we perform,” added Yeates.

U's boss Geraint Williams is set to name an unchanged side from Tuesday night's 1-1 draw against Plymouth. An 87th minute equaliser from David Norris denied the U's all three points.

Teddy Sheringham completes a three-match suspension, while fellow striker Jamie Guy continues to struggle with a tight hamstring, as does keeper Aidan Davison with a sore shoulder.

George Elokobi, who slapped in a transfer request on Thursday night, remains in the squad and could be on the bench for the third time in a week.

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