Defining moment for City and U's

By Stuart Watson“This could turn out to be a defining moment for us or for them.”Colchester United manager Aidy Boothroyd is all too aware of how much is riding on today's East Anglian clash at the Weston Homes Community Stadium.

Stuart Watson

By Stuart Watson

“This could turn out to be a defining moment for us or for them.”

Colchester United manager Aidy Boothroyd is all too aware of how much is riding on today's East Anglian clash at the Weston Homes Community Stadium.

But while fans and the media talk about revenge and regional bragging rights, Boothroyd wants to win for just one reason - three points for his promotion push.

Putting aside Colchester's 7-1 win at Carrow Road, Paul Lambert's switch to the Norfolk club and all the other underlying sub-plots to this game, the fact remains that the U's are currently six points behind second-place Norwich in the League One table with two games in hand.

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“You only have to look around at the number of people here today to see the interest in this game,” said Boothroyd, at Thursday's rather inflated press conference.

“The manager that was my predecessor is now at Norwich, I used to be at Norwich and there's obviously a bit of previous involved too, so there are all sorts of angles.

“But for me, I'm not bothered about Paul Lambert and what Paul Lambert does. I'm more worried about what we do. I don't get involved in all of that.

“It's exciting, but we have got to make sure we don't get too excited by the occasion. We'll have to maintain our emotional intelligence and to do that we've needed psychological anchors around the place in the last few weeks.”

Boothroyd, who has already masterminded Colchester victories over Charlton, Southampton and Huddersfield this season, continued: “When we've had big games in the past we've dealt with the occasion well and we know we'll need to do that again.

“Yes, Norwich would open a bit of a gap on us if they win, but if we win then they'll start to worry that Colchester are coming after them - and they'd be right.”

The U's boss will be able to call upon the trio of John White, Clive Platt and Kemi Izzet today after all three suffered minor injury knocks over the festive period.

One player that will miss out though is the influential John-Joe O'Toole as he serves the second of his two-match suspension. David Fox and new signing Ian Henderson are likely to vie for his vacant central midfield slot.

Despite the U's recent 7-0 drubbing at the hands of Preston North End in the FA Cup, the home side's back line is unlikely to change. Instead, Boothroyd's biggest selection headache will come up front where he has to decide who to pair out of Kevin Lisbie, Clive Platt, Steven Gillespie and Kayode Odejayi.

Similarly, Norwich City have no fresh injury concerns after manager Paul Lambert confirmed that midfielder Stephen Hughes, goalkeeper Declan Rudd and new signing Zak Whitbread were all in contention.

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

Norwich: Forster, Rudd, R.Martin, Doherty, Nelson, Drury, Whitbread, Stephens, Smith, Russell, Lappin, Hoolahan, Hughes, McNamee, Holt, C.Martin, Johnson, McDonald.

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