All systems change for Aidy

COLCHESTER United boss Aidy Boothroyd says he may change his system for today's tricky FA Cup third round trip to Championship side Preston North End.The U's boss has always played a traditional 4-4-2 formation since taking over back in September, but with John-Joe O'Toole picking up his 10th booking of the season and now suspended for the next two games he may well experiment.

Stuart Watson

COLCHESTER United boss Aidy Boothroyd says he may change his system for today's tricky FA Cup third round trip to Championship side Preston North End.

The U's boss has always played a traditional 4-4-2 formation since taking over back in September, but with John-Joe O'Toole picking up his 10th booking of the season and now suspended for the next two games he may well experiment.

“I'll play as strong a team as I possibly can because if I don't then we could get turned over,” said Boothroyd, ahead of today's trip to managerless Preston.

“John-Joe is unavailable, but I've got options with David Fox back from injury, while Anthony Wordsworth can play inside. He wants to play in the middle so this might be the chance to do that.

“We've also got Simon Hackney and Joel Thomas so there are a few little options I've got. I might even change the system ever so slightly because we are away from home.”

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Speaking ahead of Colchester's first FA Cup third round tie in four years, Boothroyd - who reached the FA Cup semi-finals with Watford in 2006/7 - said: “I want to keep our run going because I think it's good to have a run in the cup.

“I don't want everybody to get excited and think we can win the FA Cup, although I'm not saying that's not possible, but the main priority is promotion to the Championship.”

Before adding, tongue firmly in cheek: “If we can win the double and get into Europe then that will be an added bonus!

“The chairman will have his eye on a big draw, but, just like me, he'll know that this is going to be a tough one to get through.”

Meanwhile, Preston's caretaker manager Robert Kelly, who took charge of the club's first training without newly sacked manager Alan Irvine on Wednesday afternoon, says his players will approach today's game as professionally as ever.

“We are all a bit shocked and surprised with the timing of it but they are professional and they get on with it,” said Kelly.

“Alan came in and said goodbye and it was a difficult morning. I understood they way they would be, but training was brisk, harp and professional.

“There wasn't the normal banter and conversations you would expect, it was a quiet place. We will get on with it, as Alan would want. We are preparing the way we think is right for the Colchester game on Saturday, which we think is going to be a difficult one for us.”

Preston: Lonegan, Henderson, Jones, Davidson, Collins, St Ledger, Chilvers, Nolan, Sedgwick, Wallace, Tonge, Chaplow, Parry, Shumulikoski, Brown, Mellor, Parkin, Elliott.

Colchester: Williams, Cousins, White, Tierney, Okuonghae, Reid, Batth, Heath, Ifil, Wordsworth, Fox, Izzet, Hackney, Elito, Gillespie, Platt, Odejayi, Thomas.

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