EFL Sky Bet League Two – Weston Homes Community Stadium – Saturday 24th February 2018 – KO 3pm
Richard Brindley is a doubt (knee) after limping off injured last weekend. Harry Taylor is still recovering from a broken metatarsal and Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro (knee) remains out. Elliott Johnson (knee) and Dave Tarpey (knee) are both long-term absentees but are back out running as their recovery process continues.
Last Time We Met:
Colchester United were 1-0 winners at The Hive London in November 2017.
The match started at a frantic pace, Ryan Jackson forced Jamie Stephens into a save and Ryan Watson’s free-kick tested Sam Walker at the other end.
After the break, Ryan Inniss put his body on the line to deflect Mauro Vilhete's effort destined for the back of the net.
After the break, Simeon Akinola dragged a shot wide of the post and Jack Taylor made a goalline clearance from Inniss’ header.
The deadlock was broken in the 84th minute, Sammie Szmodic’s with a brilliant strike snatched the points.
John McGreal was appointed First Team Coach at Colchester United in May 2016.
He brings with him vast experience of the professional game, having enjoyed a 17-year playing career with Tranmere Rovers, Ipswich Town and Burnley, playing over 400 games before hanging up his boots in 2007.
His time at Rovers was part of a successful time at Prenton Park, with Rovers winning promotion, reaching the playoffs three times and getting to the semi-finals of the League Cup in his stint there.
During his time at Portman Road, he helped Town to promotion to the Premier League, going up via the playoffs with a 4-2 win over Barnsley. Joining the U's in 2009 as part of the coaching staff at the club, he progressed to become U21’s manager, helping them to an impressive fourth-place finish in the Development League Table.
His coaching has also helped provide a springboard into senior football for a number of the U's academy graduates and the last couple of years have seen the likes of Frankie Kent, Tom Lapslie, Kane Vincent-Young, Sammie Szmodics, Macauley Bonne, Femi Akinwande and Louis Dunne all make their first team breakthrough.
Sammie Szmodics bagged the only goal of the game when the two sides met at The Hive London earlier in the season and is likely to make his return from injury this weekend.
That goal was one of 12 that he has scored this season, but the midfielder has also registered three assists in his 29 appearances across all competitions.
A product of the Colchester United Academy, Szmodics has now made over 100 appearances for the Essex side and was voted December Player of the Month for Sky Bet League Two.
His performances have reportedly attracted interest from higher divisions, Premier League Bournemouth were linked with a move for the 22-year-old in January.
Last Time Out:
Colchester United lost 1-0 away to Crewe Alexandra last weekend. Shaun Miller’s strike on the hour mark ended Crewe’s run of 6 games without a win.
It was a close affair at the Alexandra Stadium and it was a game of narrow margins. Colchester’s best chance came when Drey Wright’s effort was turned around the post.
Richard Brindley joined the Bees on a free transfer in the summer. Prior to this, he spent two years at the Weston Homes Community Stadium. A loan was turned into a permanent move in 2015 and Brindley would go on to make a total of 76 appearances for Colchester.
Sam Walker joined Barnet on loan from Chelsea in 2011, going on to make seven league appearances for the Bees. Between 2013 and 2014, Walker had two separate loan spells at Colchester, before signing permanently. He’s made over 150 league appearances for The U’s so far.
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