A long trip to Essex awaits for the Shrimps in Sky Bet League Two with Colchester United our opponents on Saturday.
In midweek, Accrington Stanley travelled to the Mazuma Mobile Stadium where the points were shared following an entertaining 1-1 draw. James Connolly opened the scoring on 64 minutes before Tommy Leigh levelled proceedings from the penalty spot with 20 minutes of second half normal time to play.
Following an impressive 5-4 home win over Notts County last weekend, the U’s fell to a 2-1 defeat away to Newport County on Tuesday. Despite taking a first half lead, the home side responded with second half goals courtesy of Will Evans and Omar Bogle respectively. Things went from bad to worse when Arthur Read was sent off in the 89th minute.
In the 10 meetings since October 2016, the Shrimps have won three, drawn six and lost just one. The last season in which both sides faced off, in 2020/21, it was a double victory for Derek Adams’ men, winning 2-1 away and 3-0 on home soil.
It was a disappointing 2022/23 campaign for United, having finished 20th on 49 points with 12 wins, 13 draws and 21 defeats. Their first game of the season was postponed before three successive league defeats followed.
The U’s first league win of the campaign came against Gillingham, an emphatic 3-0 victory, in late August. Since then, the Essex club have picked all three points against Tranmere Rovers and Notts County respectively. At the time of writing, Saturday’s hosts sit 21st in League Two after 10 games with three wins, one draw and six defeats.
Manager Ben Garner has been in the hot seat at the JobServe Community Stadium since early March 2023 following previous managerial stints at Bristol Rovers, Swindon Town and Charlton Athletic.
Since taking over, the 43-year-old has taken charge of 23 matches, winning six, drawing six and losing 11, giving him a points-per-match average of 1.04.
Forward Joe Taylor leads the goalscoring tally early on with six goals in all competitions. The 20-year-old signed for United on a season-long loan in August from Premier League new boys Luton Town. Taylor arrived at Kenilworth Road from boyhood club Peterborough United, where he scored once in 19 appearances between November 2021 and January 2023. The youngster has also represent Wales at U21 level, where he’s been capped once to-date, scoring once.
Jayden Fevrier has been a key provider so far this season with five assists in all competitions as well as one goal. A product of the West Ham United academy, the 20-year-old represent the Hammers at U18 and U21 level respectively, tallying 48 appearances, eight goals and eight assists. A brief stint without a club between July and October 2022 resulted in Fevrier signing at the JobServe Community Stadium.
A key player for the U’s last season was 22-year-old Noah Chilvers, who won the Goal of the Season award and came runner up for Player of the Season. Born in Chelmsford, the attacking midfielder progressed through the Academy ranks at Colchester, including a loan spell at Bath City, before becoming a first team regular.
Ben Garner’s Pre-Match Thoughts
Speaking to Colchester United’s YouTube channel, manager Ben Garner spoke highly of the Shrimps and the threats they pose.
He said: “They’re a good side. They’ve mixed it up in games, they’ve had some games where they’ve gone really high and pressed teams and almost gone man on man.
“Other games, they’ve sat a bit deeper. Whatever way they do it, they’re a fantastic team on transitions.
“They can play through the pitch really quickly, they’ve got good pace and energy at the top end of the pitch. If you switch off, or you don’t concentrate behind your attacks, they can really hurt you.
“Equally they can pass the ball through the pitch well and they’re a threat on set-pieces, so they’re a good side.”
During his pre-match interview, Derek Adams confirmed Jake Taylor will miss out through injury, and could be sidelined for up to six weeks.
Defender and skipper Donald Love is available following his one match suspension after being sent off during our away victory at Forest Green Rovers.
Meet The Officials
Sam Purkiss takes charge of his first Shrimps game since January 2022; a 2-2 away draw against Accrington Stanley.
He’ll be joined by linesmen Marc Wilson and Damith Bandara alongside fourth official Daniel Bonneywell.
So far this campaign, Purkiss has taken charge of nine games, and has issued 47 yellow cards and five red cards.
Tickets can be bought in advance directly from Colchester United up until kick-off by clicking here.
Supporters not making the trip to the JobServe Community Stadium can listen to full match commentary with an iFollow Shrimps audio match pass for just £2.50.
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