The Big Match Preview: - Colchester United - 31/1/15 (H)
Following City's sensational F.A Cup victory at Chelsea last weekend, Phil Parkinson's side return to league action this Saturday with a home fixture against Colchester United.
Following a tough campaign last time out, Colchester finished 16th, avoiding the drop by 6 points. Joe Dunne lost his job after a dreadful start to the 2014-15 season, and he was replaced by Under 18s manager Tony Humes who remains at the helm after steadying the ship. The board and fans alike will have probably expected United to at least build on last season’s finish but things have yet to get fully flowing for The U’s and they are currently in the relegation zone, though they could move out if results go their way on Saturday afternoon. Humes’ side has been weakened somewhat following the departure of talismanic top scorer Freddie Sears to Ipswich Town but he will be hoping subsequent signings will cushion the blow.
Ins and Outs
Colchester have been very busy in the January transfer window and have bolstered their squad ready for the second half of the season
Kenneth McEvoy has joined on loan from Tottenham Hotspur until the end of the season, the Republic of Ireland Under 21 international had a loan spell at Peterborough United earlier in the season.
Kaspars Gorkss has recently left the club after a brief spell in Essex, deciding on a move to Crete based Greek Super League side Ergotelis on an 18 month contract.
Freddie Sears has recently moved to Championship side Ipswich Town. The talented former West Ham forward was the U’s top goal scorer with 14 goals in all competitions.
Jack Marriott and Chris Porter have recently joined Colchester to fill the gap in the strike department left by Sears’ departure. Marriott joined on loan from Ipswich as part of the Sears deal and Porter joined on a free transfer following his release from Sheffield United after 4 years at Bramall Lane.
23 year old centre half, Josh Thompson has just joined League 2 side Tranmere Rovers on a permanent basis after spending time on loan at Prenton Park.
Left sided defender Matthew Briggs who featured for Millwall in the FA Cup double header against Bradford City recently, has joined Colchester on loan and finally, Jamie Harney, an 18 year old defender on loan from West Ham United, has recently made the move permanent.
Current League Position
Colchester are currently 21st in the league ahead of the weekend’s trip to West Yorkshire, there is three points between them and bottom club Crawley Town in a tight relegation zone. United are 2 points behind Crewe Alexandra in 20th and Barnsley in 19th – The Alex are at home to MK Dons this weekend and Barnsley are at home to Port Vale.
Jordan Pickford is likely to come back into the side in place of Ben Williams who was in goal for last weekend’s exploits at Stamford Bridge but fortunately there are no injury concerns and, but the switch of goalkeeper, Phil Parkinson could field an unchanged side.
The visitors will be without Alex Gilbey for another two weeks as he is side lined with an ankle injury, while Elliott Hewitt will begin a three match suspension. Kaspars Gorkss has left the club having recently featured in The U’s starting line-up and Alex Wynter is back after missing the Leyton Orient game with illness.
Last Meetings with Colchester United:
Our last meeting with Colchester was a goalless draw at the Colchester Community Stadium back in September and the clash before that was a 2-0 win for The Bantams in Essex in March of last year. James Hanson headed in from a corner after only 16 minutes and Doncaster Rovers loanee Kyle Bennett made sure of the three points with an emphatic finish from a tight angle coming up to the hour mark.
Colchester United’s Recent Form
24/01/15 | Colchester United 2-0 Leyton Orient | League One | W
17/01/15 | Colchester United 0-2 Walsall | League One | L
10/01/15 | Peterborough United 0-2 Colchester United | League One | W
02/01/15 | Cardiff City 3-1 Colchester United | FA Cup 3rd Round | L
28/12/14 | Crawley Town 0-0 Colchester United | League One | D
Now the U’s top scorer following Freddie Sears’ departure, Massey has 6 goals so far this season, despite him usually playing as a wide midfielder. An exciting player who carries bags of pace, the 22 year old joined Colchester United in 2012 from Watford. Born in Watford, Gavin began his career with the club in 2010 after spending 2 years in the club’s youth system. He made 7 league appearances at first team level but following loans at Wealdstone and Yeovil Town, he had a couple of stints on loan at Colchester United before the move was made permanent in August 2012.
Ref Watch – Kevin Johnson
The majority of games that Johnson has refereed this season have been at League Two level and so far he has been in charge of 17 matches, dishing out 55 yellow cards and 4 reds in the process. His most recent game was Wolves’ 2-0 home victory against Blackpool in the Championship two weeks ago.
The Bantams are priced as favourites to win the match, the draw according to the bookmakers is slightly more likely than a Colchester victory.
Bradford – 17/20
Draw – 13/5
Colchester – 16/5