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Colchester United 2 v 0 Newport County
SkyBet League Two
Saturday, 3rd February 2018 Kick-off 15:00
U's Vs Newport - Durham's Preview
Saturday, 3rd Feb 2018 11:22 by Durham Exile

The Exiles are in Town on Saturday. No not Wessex, Durham et al, but Mike Flynn’s high-flying Newport County Exiles.

Now football has been overshadowed this week by the news of Vic Keeble’s sad passing at the age of 87. He will be missed by many and will rightly be the subject of a minute’s applause on Saturday.

Returning to more mundane news, in a week of frenetic transfer and loan activity John McGreal’s Super U’s have added to their ranks after clearing a couple of players from the pay bill.

Liam Mandeville 21 has joined on loan from Doncaster Rovers.

Olamide Shodipo a winger from QPR has joined on loan.

Highly rated Ben Stevenson, signed by Wolves for £500K from Coventry has been loaned to Colchester and ironically can play against the Sky Blues in a 12 days’ time.

Aaron Barnes, signed permanently from Charlton, has immediately been loaned to Torquay by Colchester until the end of the season. He made an impressive debut for the Gulls last week.

Cameron James has been loaned to Chelmsford City until the end of the season. James was one of our mainstays last season, but his chances have been limited so far, this season.

No bids were received for Sammie Szmodics however after the speculation (mainly newspaper driven) about a bid of £1m from the Cherries. This unwanted attention has led to a drop-in form from the U’s youngster and incredibly an unknown bid for another Super U was made instead. Although secret, I suspect that the bid was for Brennan Dickenson, who is likely to return to the first team for the Coventry game.

Luke Prosser is surely ready for a regular return to the first team but who can he play alongside, and can he displace Kane Vincent-Young.

Ryan Inniss remains doubtful following his shoulder injury which has definitely adversely affected the defence, which previously seemed impregnable.

So, who can JM play against the Exiles. Until Dickenson returns he must surely integrate the new signings with some of the reliable regulars.

Sam Walker remains the number one but does JM go with three or four at the back. His preferred trio is still Eastman Inniss and Kent, but the return of Prosser gives an option (until Inniss is fully fit) of Eastman, Prosser and Kent. Ryan Jackson has the ability to play either full back or wing back.

Midfield is even more tricky with Tom Lapslie aka Marmite, Brandon Comley who having signed permanently has been “snubbed” by JM. Sean Murray has struggled of late following his spell out with an injury whilst Doug “sicknote” Loft remains unavailable. Drey Wright despite his recent goal cannot be justified in the starting XI at present and must be benched.

The two midfield arrivals in Shodipo and Stevenson cannot be ignored and there is a strong case for both to be given starts.

Sammie Szmodics is either an attacking midfielder or a striker, but in the current climate must play behind the strike force.

This is JM’s biggest conundrum with Mikael Mandron, Kurtis Guthrie, Courtney Senior, Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe and now Mandeville all champing at the bit.

So, what do we make of all this:

JM could consider the following:
Walker
Jackson Eastman Kent Vincent-Young
Lapslie Stevenson Shodipo
Szmodics Mandeville
Guthrie

Or:
Walker
Eastman Kent Prosser
Jackson Comley Stevenson Shodipo
Szmodics
Ogedi-Uzokwe Senior

Or:
Walker
Jackson Eastman Kent Prosser
Murray Stevenson Shodipo
Szmodics
Mandeville Guthrie

I think that he will instead go with the following line up against Newport County:

3,4,1,2 including three of the new signings who will offer quality in an attempt to secure our first win of 2018.

Walker

Eastman Kent Prosser

Jackson Lapslie Stevenson Shodipo

Szmodics

Mandeville Guthrie

Subs:
Gilmartin, Vincent-Young, Comley, Murray, Ogedi-Uzokwe, Senior, Wright.

The weather in Colchester is set for 5 degrees Celsius with light rain.
Attendance should be up to see the new players performing on their debuts whilst also hoping for a super U’s victory.

Now let us forget about all the hype about Newport rolling over because of their forthcoming FA Cup replay against Spurs at Wembley. Flynn knows that he has £1m in the bank and realistically has no chance of victory and so he will do what he can to rectify the situation following a poor showing at Lincoln City. JM must guard against any complacency. This is all about the three points.

Enjoy the game.

Up the U’s

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