Writer: StevieG Col U
Date:Friday August 20 2010
Colchester United visit Rochdale tomorrow, with both sides looking to chalk up their first three League One points of the season.
Despite playing some fantastic, fluent attacking football during the opening two league games of the campaign, John Ward`s U`s have been held to two draws following a pair of late goals in their fixtures so far. A forward-thinking 4-3-3 formation has looked impressive for the U`s, with a vast number of chances being created and some fantastic goals being scored.
The trip also sees energetic midfielder David Perkins make a return to Dale - a club where he enjoyed a number of prolific seasons.
The hosts, Rochdale, have had a very similar start to the season as the U`s, with two league draws and cup victory to date. Boss John Hill has been instrumental in Dales rise into League One following last season`s third-place finish in England`s fourth tier and he will be looking to kick on.
U's manager Ward told BBC Radio Essex: 'Keith Hill's a really good guy, a proper football man, gets out there with his players, works hard for them and deserves is success.
'I did actually see them towards the end of last year and I thought they played very well.'
The 59-year-old is expecting a good atmosphere inside Spotland tomorrow - something he is more then looking forward to.
'Spotland is a nice, tight ground - the kind of ground I like. You go there and the crowd's on top of the game and it creates a really good atmosphere, he added.
Striker Anthony Elding looks set to be considered for a starting role, following a couple of impressive cameos from the bench in recent weeks. However, manager Hill may well choose to continue with same starting XI that has served him well in the opening weeks of the season.
One player who looks set to start is star defender Craig Dawson, who despite being keen on a move away from Spotland to a higher level of football, has featured in every minutes of Dale`s campaign to date.
Rochdale's likely starting XI: Lillis, Wiseman, Widdowson, Holness, Dawson, Barry-Murphy, Kennedy, Jones, Thompson, Akpa Akpro, O'Grady
Veteran skipper Jones fired an impressive brace at Brighton last Saturday, with the midfielder looking to continue his fine form.
The U's look set to name an unchanged team for the trip North, with Player-of-the-Year goalkeeper Ben Williams once again ruled out due to injury. Williams has been sidelined with an ankle injury he picked up in pre-season, so Mark Cousins will deputise once more.
Injury-ravaged forward Steven Gillespie (ankle) will also miss out, with no date for a return yet to be set. John-Joe O`Toole and Morten Knudsen - both victims of long-term knee injuries - are unavailable too. An update on their injuries can be seen by clicking here.
The U's likely starting XI: Cousins, Wilson, Okuonghae, Reid, Tierney, Izzet, Perkins, Bond, Wordsworth, Henderson, Mooney.
The box-to-box midfield man was plucked from the non-league by the U's this summer - and Bond has made an electric start to his U's career. Bond will be looking to add to last weekend's fantastic long-range screamer against Sheffield Wednesday.
StevieG Col U predicts... a 2-1 U's win!
Who? Sunderland A.F.C
Where? The Stadium of Light
So what do you think?
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Date:Friday August 20 2010
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