Yeates still buzzing

MARK Yeates is still buzzing after making his senior international debut for the Republic of Ireland “B” team in midweek, and now he wants to channel that enthusiasm into a cracking performance for his club.

By Carl Marston

MARK Yeates is still buzzing after making his senior international debut for the Republic of Ireland “B” team in midweek, and now he wants to channel that enthusiasm into a cracking performance for his club.

Colchester United's dazzling winger is intent on inspiring the U's to only their fourth win of the season, at the expense of visiting Crystal Palace this afternoon.

Yeates is anticipating a hard afternoon, even though the Eagles are second-from-bottom and without a victory in nine games. But he is confident of success.

The Dubliner made a big impact as a second-half substitute for the Republic of Ireland in a “B” international against hosts Scotland on Tuesday night. It was his long-range shot, which struck the bar, that enabled Des Bryne to score the opener in a 1-1 draw at Airdrie.

“Every player wants to represent their country, and I'm no different,” insisted Yeates.

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“Of course I'm hungry for more games, but for the moment I've got to keep my head down and keep playing well for Colchester.

“It's been going well for me, and I want that to continue. I don't want to let my standards slip.”

Yeates has been fire on this season. He is the U's leading scorer with seven goals, but that only tells half the tale. The ex-Tottenham winger was robbed of a goal at Southampton - his deflected effort went down as an own goal instead - and he also had a penalty saved by Ipswich keeper Neil Alexander at Portman Road a month ago.

Furthermore, he has struck the woodwork on several occasions, including from a free-kick in the U's last outing, which was an impressive 2-2 draw at league leaders Watford. And he has set up countless goals for team-mates, most notably for Johnnie Jackson against Leicester, and Kevin Lisbie against Plymouth, in the last two home games.

Yeates is looking to make a similar impression today. He continued: “Crystal Palace are struggling a bit this season. They have some very experienced players, but they've been playing several of the younger lads recently.

“We are due a three-pointer. The lads are all fit and raring to go. They've benefited from the fortnight's break, although a few of us have been on international duty, which shows just how far Colchester United has come as a club.

“I really enjoyed the game in Scotland. You can only start with 11 players, and I was disappointed not to be in the starting line-up.

“But I came on within a few minutes of the second half, so I effectively played the whole half. The goal came from my shot that hit the bar. It was a long range shot, one of my trademark efforts!

“This was my first “B” international, though I've played for the under-21s several times. I think that I settled in well.

“I was also pleased for big Chris (Iwelumo). He deserved his chance to play for Scotland. He's played really well over the last three seasons, and he couldn't have done anymore,” added Yeates.

Ex-Colchester target man Iwelumo made his Scotland debut by playing for an hour against the Irish in this friendly fixture. He is back on club duty for high-flying Charlton this weekend.

U's boss Geraint Williams is poised to name the side that were good value for their 2-2 draw at Vicarage Road a fortnight ago.

Teddy Sheringham is available again, after serving his three-match suspension, although the 41-year-old might have to make do with a place on the substitutes' bench. The 41-year-old has not started a game since the 2-2 home draw against Charlton on September 15.

Keeper Aidan Davison is the only regular visitor to the treatment room. Davison has been hampered by a sore shoulder in recent weeks, so Dean Gerken will retain his place in goal.

One change that Williams might consider is in central defence. Hungarian Bela Balogh started his first game as a centre-half at Watford, after a couple of outings as a right-back, and he played well alongside Pat Baldwin. But Matthew Connolly, who was an unused substitute for England Under-21s in midweek, is also pushing for a start.

Striker Jamie Guy enjoyed 90 minutes of action for the Reserves on Tuesday, following his long-term hamstring problem. The 20-year-old has only made three appearances as a substitute this term, but he should soon be pushing for a place in the senior squad again.

Meanwhile, as the EADT revealed yesterday, manager Williams failed in an attempt to sign front-runner Hogan Ephraim on loan from West Ham before Thursday's transfer deadline for emergency loans. On the same day, full-back John White signed on a month's loan to Blue Square Premier side Stevenage Borough.

White should make his Stevenage debut on Monday night, against Altrincham, but before then he will be hoping that his team-mates can mastermind a win over Palace.

Yeates added: “We have to make Layer Road a difficult place to come for teams, like we have done over the last couple of seasons.

“Performances have been good of late. We did well to draw 2-2 at Watford, although to be honest I felt a little disappointed that we didn't win that game, even though a draw was probably a fair result. We acquitted ourselves well.

“It's a hard week ahead, with away games at Wolves (Wednesday night) and Sheffield Wednesday (next Saturday) to come,” concluded Yeates.

Squads

COLCHESTER UNITED: Gerken, Duguid, Baldwin, Balogh, Granville, Yeates, K Watson, Izzet, Jackson, Platt, Lisbie, Sheringham, McLeod, Connolly, Virgo, Elokobi, Guttridge, Guy, Cousins or Davison.

CRYSTAL PALACE: Speroni, Lawrence, Hudson, Fonte, Hill, Soares, B Watson, Kennedy, Songo'o, Morrison, Ifill, Scowcroft, Freedman, Idrizaj, Hall, Bostock, Hills, Moses, Fletcher, Flinders.

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