Soccer AM/MW - the home of lively and humorous discussion from the Football and Non Leagues

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Big Match Preview

League One
Colchester United vs. Norwich City

Saturday January 16, 15:00, Weston Homes Community Stadium

Rarely can an East Anglian derby between Colchester and Norwich potentially be of such epic proportions. Local pride, precious points, former managers returning, and the smaller matter of revenge lie at the heart of this League One tussle.

Fourth against second probably fails to do justice to just how important this particular clash is to the two sets of fans, although victory for either side could strike an important note in the race for promotion.

However, for Norwich, humbled 7-1 by United on the opening day of the season, it's a chance to exact revenge for that humiliating August afternoon.

It was a loss that led to manager Bryan Gunn being given a very early P45, and for his replacement the Canaries turned to Colchester's Paul Lambert.

And the Scot's successor in Essex was the former Watford manager and one-time coach at Norwich, Aidy Boothroyd. Connections in this particular match are deep.

Both sides have seen their respective new managers navigate them firmly into the race for promotion though, so history will be put aside for 90 minutes as a place in the Championship becomes the sole goal.

For the home side, it's a first chance to respond to the 7-0 thumping they received at Preston in the FA Cup at the start of the month. Fortunately, the U's have had greater success in their own division, particularly on home soil.

Colchester thumped Norwich 7-1 on the opening day, can City exact revenge this weekend?

Colchester have won nine of their 11 games at the Weston Homes Community Stadium this term, conceding just eight goals. Boothroyd's men have also won their last four league matches so go into this derby in good form.

They've also been able to strengthen their promotion bid with the permenant signings of influential loanees Kayode Odejayi and John Joe O'Toole.

However, in Norwich they face a formidable team - unbeaten since October and having collected 22 out of 24 points in their last eight games.

The bedrock of that success has been built at Carrow Road, where City are unbeaten under Lambert, including recent wins over promotion hopefuls Huddersfield and Millwall.

Their form on the road has been more patchy, although the Canaries always remain a difficult team to beat and in Grant Holt have a striker with 22 goals to his name already this season.

With so much at stake, both in terms of pride and points, this is a game neither side want to, or can afford to, lose. This may well lead to a typical cagey local derby.

Norwich have the strength and resilience to withstand the bombardment they are likely to receive from the home side. However, becoming just the second team to win at Colchester this season may well prove beyond them.

Nobes' Prediction: Colchester United 1 Norwich City 1

No comments:

Post a Comment