In the end, City had the night off after their match at Macclesfield was postponed after it was apparent the pitch at Moss Rose would have been more suited to a swimming gala. This will have been something of a relief to Matt Taylor as it would have enabled his squad to regain a bit of fitness with players dropping like flies. With Pierce Sweeney succumbing to chicken pox Taylor moved to recall Jimmy Oates from his loan at Hereford to bolster his defensive options with Dean Moxey also currently out. Elsewhere the enforced rest in midweek may enable Hiram Boateng to start, although this could mean one of Matt Jay or Archie Collins dropping to the bench, which would be harsh on the players who have done well since breaking into the starting XI.
If you were a betting man, you’d probably tend to give Colchester a swerve – one minute they can be brutal, putting teams to the sword, the next they can be dealt with just as efficiently. Tuesday night, following a comfortable 3-0 win over Newport last Saturday, was a case in point, with out of form Forest Green the visitors and strolling to a 3-0 win. As a result, manager John McGreal would be pulling his hair out if he had any at his side’s inconsistency which has seen the Us lie just ahead of City in the final playoff spot when conceivably they could be up with Lincoln. One constant is that Sammie Szmodics has been pulling the strings from midfield, his creativity bringing him 12 goals in all competitions, aided by ex-West Ham man Frank Nouble and others such as the beanpole Harry Pell, an unmissable figure in midfield standing roughly 9’3″.
It was honours even in the reverse fixture – that man Szmodics scoring for the hosts only for City to hit back immediately through Stockley for a 1-1 draw. Last season’s match at the Park saw City finish the regular season with a 1-0 win through Robbie Simpson. City’s recent record against Colchester is good – unbeaten in the five matches since Colchester’s relegation to League 2 in 2016, while Colchester’s last win at the Park was in 1998. This recent record has seen City establish a small league head to head lead with 28 wins to Colchester’s 25 (20 draws). Details of the last 22 encounters can be found at http://www.grecians.co.uk/wordpress/?p=9529
The match officials for this game will be:-
Referee: Scott Oldham
Assistants: Conor Farrell and Samuel Ogles
Fourth Official : Marc Whaley
This will be Scott’s first time in charge of an Exeter game.