Sky Bet League Two action returns to Blundell Park for just the second time in 2023 tomorrow with Colchester United travelling up from Essex.
The Mariners will be looking to build on a superb week, one that saw Paul Hurst’s men win 3-0 at Crewe last weekend – our first victory at Gresty Road since September 1990 – before dispatching Sky Bet Championship side Luton Town 3-0 in the Emirates FA Cup on Tuesday.
That victory sealed Town’s first Fifth Round tie since 1996 and will see the squad head into tomorrow’s match full of confidence.
The Mariners face Colchester in fine fettle with a number of players coming back into contention. John McAtee missed out on Tuesday due to being ineligible to feature against his parent club while Deadline Day signings Tom Dickson-Peters, Josh Emmanuel and George Lloyd were unavailable due to not being registered for the initial match.
Mikey O’Neill, another new January signing on loan from Preston North End, was also unable to play due to having already played in the FA Cup this year for his parent club.
Those five players coming back into contention means Paul Hurst has the same squad available to him as the 3-0 win at Crewe with only Kieran Green the only potential new absentee from Tuesday after picking up a knock in the second half.
With Hurst unavailable for media this week, coach Ben Davies stood in when speaking to the press and you can watch his full interview on Mariners TV HERE.
Tomorrow’s visitors currently sit one place below the Mariners in 17th place, albeit having played five matches more than Town.
Despite that lowly position, the Essex club are upwardly mobile and currently sit sixth in the form table based on the last five league matches.
Goals have been hard to come by for Colchester with the top scorers in their squad, Noah Chilvers and Junior Tchamadeu, both having scored just four goals. They did, however, move to improve that last month with established football league striker Tom Hopper joining from Lincoln City.
Manager Matt Bloomfield, appointed in September, was also able to bring in the likes of Matt Jay and Connor Hall from Exeter City and Port Vale, respectively, in January as they look to move away from the lower reaches of League Two.
The return fixture at the JobServe Community Stadium took place back in September when a Harry Clifton goal helped the Mariners to a 1-0 victory. You can watch the highlights of that match HERE.
There has been thirteen matches between the two clubs to date with Town enjoying five wins compared to Colchester’s four.
The man in the middle on Saturday afternoon will be David Rock. He last refereed the Mariners on April 2021 when we fell to a late 3-2 defeat at Exeter City in League Two. Lennell John-Lewis and Jay Matete scored our goals that day.
He will be assisted by Ian Smedley and Christopher Ward.
Due to broadcast restrictions, tomorrow’s match is eligible for live stream for overseas viewers only. The coverage, including the commentary from BBC Radio Humberside, will begin around 2:30pm. Match passes can be bought online HERE for just £10.