Match Preview: Colchester United (A)
EFL League Two
Colchester Community Stadium
Saturday, February 11, 2017 – KO 3pm
Team News: Curtis Weston returned in last weekend’s 2-0 defeat to Mansfield Town but Jack Taylor remains sidelined. Simeon Akinola serves the second game of his three-match ban.
Michael Gash (knee) and Shaun Batt (hamstring) are out for the season while Jamie Stephens (calf) and James Pearson (knee) are expected to return sooner.
Last Time We Met: A late strike from Curtis Weston earnt the Bees a point at home to newly-relegated Colchester United in September in a game which finished 1-1 at The Hive London.
Reading loanee Tariq Fosu fired the Essex outfit ahead after six minutes but Weston sealed a point by stabbing home eight minutes from time.
Manager: Former centre-back John McGreal, 44, was appointed U’s boss in May 2016, succeeding Kevin Keen following the Essex outfit’s relegation to League Two.
With the 2015/16 campaign already over, the former Tranmere Rovers, Ipswich Town and Burnley centre-back made his managerial bow in a 1-1 opening day draw at Hartlepool United.
In his short spell in charge at the Colchester Community Stadium the Birkenhead-born boss has twice been nominated as League Two Manager of the Month and won the gong for December, becoming the first Colchester manager to do so since Paul Lambert in January 2009.
The U’s are only ahead of the Bees in the league standings on goal difference.
Dangerman: Rangy forward Kurtis Guthrie, 23, has made a good start to life in Essex, bagging ten league goals in his first 27 outings for the club since joining for Forest Green Rovers.
The 6ft 3in striker joined from the Vanarama National League side – for whom he netted 19 times in 54 league starts – last summer and has not looked back since making the step up to the Football League.
Born in Jersey, Guthrie began his career with Accrington Stanley but failed to find the net in a handful of outings before dropping into non-league football with Bath City.
A hat-trick on his home debut for the Romans saw him snapped up by Welling United with whom he spent two seasons before switching to FGR.
During his time at The New Lawn Guthrie won an England ‘C’ cap and helped his side the 2016 National League Play-Off Final where they were beaten by Grimsby Town.
Connections: There are two goalkeepers in the Colchester squad who have previously turned out for Barnet first-choice Sam Walker and new signing Dean Brill.
The former spent time on loan at Underhill from Chelsea during the second half of the 2010/11 season while Brill made 45 appearances the following season.
Veteran forward Scott McGleish – current player-coach at rivals Wealdstone – scored 37 times in two appearances for the Bees, the second of which came on loan from Bristol Rovers in 2012.
The 42-year-old also had two stints with Colchester United, joining the U’s for the second time in 2001 in a £15,000 switch from Underhill.
Kevin Lisbie scored netted 40 goals for the U’s in two highly successful spells before making four substitute appearances for Martin Allen’s side last season.
Last Time Out: Ten-man Colchester United were unable to make any ground on the play-off places as they drew 1-1 at Blackpool on Saturday.
Jamille Matt put the Seasiders ahead after 12 minutes, turning home from Nathan Delfouneso’s cross to the near post.
But Colchester were level six minutes later when Guthrie stabbed home from close range after Blackpool failed to deal with a corner.
In the fifth minute of injury time the visitors were reduced to ten men when debutant Sean Murray was sent off for a poor challenge.
Colchester United (3-1-4-2): Walker; Eastman, Kent, Elokobi; Lapslie; Brindley, Slater, Garvan, Briggs; Guthrie, Porter.
Ticket info: For full ticket information on Saturday’s game, please click here.