A dramatic late win ensured Rovers kept up the pace with the leaders last Saturday, but how will Rovers cope without their top scorer as Colchester come to town?
Andy Williams was the hero against Barnet, turning in Matty Blair’s superb cross to give Fergie’s boys a 3-2 win having squandered a two-goal lead minutes before. For Williams though, that effort looks set to be his last in the short term as he left the ground on crutches and is not expected to be fit to play this weekend.
Colchester United are the latest visitors to Lakeside, a team who came down to League Two with Rovers last season. You could say that they dragged us down with them, a 4-1 thumping in Essex on Good Friday still fresh in the memory for fans and, hopefully, the players as well.
However, both teams are very different propositions to the ones that lined up on that day, and it is Rovers who have made the better start to life back in the basement. The Barnet win was a seventh of the campaign and fourth in six outings, whilst the club are now clear by four goals as top scoring team in the division.
By contrast, Colchester are the epitome of average to date, sitting 13th in the standings with four wins, four losses and four draws. Their goal difference also demonstrates the flat rate by which John McGreal’s team are chugging along – 16 for, 16 against – and are without a win in five league matches, whilst their last away maximum came at the end of August.
Darren Ferguson will be able to call upon John Marquis up front, back from suspension, but owing to Williams’ injury will probably keep young forward Liam Mandeville in the line-up alongside him after a strong showing deputising against Barnet. Mathieu Baudry also performed well when brought on as part of a tactical switch in the second half last week, but if the manager sticks to the diamond from kick-off here, expect to see Baudry back on the bench.
One to Watch
Despite being relegated, Colchester possessed a wealth of strong attacking talents last season as proven by their 4-1 win last time the teams met. The likes of Moncur, Sordell, Harriott and Gilbey have all understandably moved on now, but Sammie Szmodics remains having signed a three-year contract in the summer. Szmodics is the main outlet through midfield for the U’s and has three goals this season, the last coming in their most recent victory over Blackpool.
John Marquis is restored to the starting line-up for Rovers this weekend but will be asked to perform with more pressure on his shoulders in the absence of Williams. Usually the support striker for our top scorer, Marquis will have to step up and lead the line himself here with Mandeville providing the support instead.