Unity for U's

INJURIES and suspensions are already biting deep, but Colchester United boss Aidy Boothroyd has still named a big travelling party for this afternoon's visit to Swindon Town.

Carl Marston

INJURIES and suspensions are already biting deep, but Colchester United boss Aidy Boothroyd has still named a big travelling party for this afternoon's visit to Swindon Town.

Boothroyd is keen to involve everyone in the U's cause, which was something that former boss Paul Lambert never advocated.

To this end, the likes of Phil Ifil, Matt Lockwood and Medy Elito, who were completely out-in-the-cold under Lambert, and defenders Matt Heath and John White, who both started this season on loan at Southend, are in the thick of it again.

In fact, both White and Heath look certain to start at the County Ground. Right-back White displaced Alan Maybury last weekend, and responded with a sound display in the backs-to-the-wall goalless draw at Southampton.

And Heath came on for the injured Pat Baldwin just before the break at St Mary's. The ex-Leicester and Leeds centre-half formed a strong partnership with Magus Okuonghae in the heart of defence.

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Likewise, Elito was on the bench at Southampton, having not even had a look-in under Lambert. And forgotten man Ifil is also on the bus bound for the south coast.

“Matt (Heath) will come in. He did well at Southampton,” revealed Boothroyd.

“Everyone will be given a chance. I always respect the opposition, but at the moment I'm only concerned with us.”

Injuries will rule out the trio of Baldwin (bruised bone in his ankle), defender Lee Beevers (shoulder) and Paul Reid (recovering from broken knee cap), although strikers Steven Gillespie and Jamie Guy are at least added to the top-heavy squad to strengthen this show of unity.

Gillespie has yet to feature this season, due to a sore hamstring, although he did enjoy a cameo role for the U's Reserves in their goalless draw at Ipswich Town on Wednesday afternoon. Guy is also back in training after his recent struggle with injury.

New recruit John-Joe O'Toole, signed on loan from Watford soon after Boothroyd was appointed U's boss, started at Southampton and looks set to retain his place in the middle of the park.

But there will definitely be a change in that area of the pitch, because Kem Izzet starts the first of a three-match suspension after being sent off for violent conduct against the Saints. He will also have to sit out next weekend's home game against Hartlepool, and the following weekend's trip to Tranmere.

David Fox, who was relegated to the bench to make way for O'Toole, could therefore return. Transfer-listed David Perkins is another possibility, as is recalling winger Simon Hackney.

Hosts Swindon have been in good form, recording four wins to date this season under ambitious manager Danny Wilson. They are one point and one place above the U's in sixth spot.

The Robins won the south-west derby 1-0 at Yeovil Town last weekend, and have also tasted wins at MK Dons (Carling Cup), against Southampton (1-0) and at home to Southend (2-1). They were edged out in the second round of the Carling Cup by Premier League side Wolves, beaten 6-5 on penalties after a goalless draw.

Manager Wilson said: “It will be a tough game. I think it's going to be the hardest test so far. Colchester are tried and tested at this level.

“They've got some players in there that have played Championship football just two seasons ago, and that will make it more difficult.”

n Medy Elito is on stand-by for the England Under-20s squad for the U-20 World Cup in Egypt. The U's winger was named in the provisional 30-man squad earlier this week, and will get the nod if there are any injuries during the tournament. England are due to play against Uruguay, Ghana and Uzbekistan.l

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