Our preview of our visit to Colchester
Sky Bet League 1
Thursday 26th December 2013
Weston Homes Community Stadium, United Way, Colchester, CO4 5UP
Weather forecast: Cloudy, 6°c
Referee: Gavin Ward (Surrey)
Last time we met:
Jabo Ibehre's double pulled Colchester out of the relegation zone and heaped more misery on Stevenage back in early March. George Porter's effort was cleared off the Boro goaline, before Anthony Grant drew a fine save from Sam Walker at the other end. But Ibehre struck twice in the second half, heading in Billy Clifford's free-kick and tapping in a simple chance.
Boro: Day, Gray, Roberts, Chorley, Charles, Tansey, Grant, Mahon (Shroot), Dunne (Freeman), Haber, Akins (Beleck)
Subs not used: Arnold, Iro, Comminges, Hoskins
Roarie Deacon and Michael Doughty both return for Stevenage following suspension. Lucas Akins and Peter Hartley will both be hoping to recover from recent injuries to enable them to be available for selection.
Colchester should have midfielder David Wright available despite the midfielder suffering a dead leg at Oldham on Saturday. Macauley Bonne missed that game through injury so is therefore doubtful for this game too.
View from the dressing room:
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Backing Graham Westley's men to nick a 1-0 win is 7/1 but if you fancy wagering that goal will be scored by Francois Zoko then those odds increase to 30/1.
The Ivorian (11/2) is the favourite Stevenage player to score but Lucas Akins may be worth a shout at 2/1 to score anytime.
Two years ago Boro enjoyed a 6-1 win at Colchester and you can get odds of 250/1 on an identical scoreline this year.
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The Colchester United Scout Report.
Colchester come into this game in 15th place in Sky Bet League 1 after picking up 24 points from their 21 games so far.
The U's have two wins from their last seven league games - 3-1 against MK Dons a month ago and 2-0 at Oldham on Saturday. Their other results have seen draws at Rotherham (2-2) and Preston (1-1) and defeats to Tranmere (1-2), Swindon (1-2) and Notts County (0-4)...the latter two at home.
Colchester's home record this season has seen three wins, three draws and four defeats from their 10 games at the Weston Homes Community Stadium, during which they've scored just 10 times whilst conceding 15.
The U's have also played two cup games this season in front of their own fans but lost both - a 3-2 defeat to Sheffield United in the FA Cup and a 5-1 thrashing against Peterborough in the Capital One Cup.
Jabo Ibehre has five goals to his name this season and currently tops the Colchester scoring charts. The experienced striker came up through the youth ranks at Leyton Orient, making his debut as a 17 year old and going on to make 209 appearances for them, scoring 36 times. The 30-year old has also played for Walsall, MK Dons, Southend and Stockport before initially arriving at Colchester on loan in September 2012.
After 4 goals in 14 appearances - and a number of impressive performances - Ibehre signed permanently in January 2013 and was named Player of the Year. He signed a two year extension in the summer and has scored against Orient, Bradford, MK Dons, Oldham and Peterborough.