We look ahead to Saturday's trip to ColchesterCOLCHESTER V GILLINGHAM
The Weston Homes Community Stadium
Sky Bet League One
Saturday January 11
Chris Whelpdale is the Gills only definite absentee for the visit to Essex with his ankle problem still causing him trouble. Myles Weston could make a return following his hamstring strain, while Amine Linganzi is now 100% fit.
Danny Kedwell is expected to feature after his hernia operation was postponed; Charlie Lee is fit too after picking up a knock against Wolves.
As for Colchester Freddie Sears, formerly of West Ham, is looking for a start up front after being an unused substitute for their game on New Year’s Day against MK Dons.
Gavin Massey (hamstring) is out; Drey Wright (knee) may make a return, but the game may have come too soon for Josh Thompson who has an ankle problem.
Peter Taylor wants his side to build on Friday night’s 1-0 win over Wolves at Priestfield, and has done his homework ahead of Saturday’s visit to Essex.
He told the club’s official website: “They’ve had good runs and bad runs so it’s obvious they have character because they get back after a bad result. I’m expecting a tough match; I know Joe Dunne and he’s been there a while now.
“He likes his players to play Football but at times make them hard to play against."
As for Joe Dunne he told their club website: “I’ve seen them two or three times recently and a lot on DVD. It’s a difficult game; they are a difficult team with an experienced Manager.
“It’s a game we are capable of winning.
“Peter is a Manager who likes to play and we are trying to develop that here. They have dangerous players, McDonald has hit form and they have been brave and gone with young Hessenthaler in midfield.”
The Gaffer – Joe Dunne
Joe will be no stranger to the majority of Gills supporters, having spent six years at Priestfield between 1990 and 1996. The defender left Gills to join United, before a spell at Dover was followed by a second stint at the Weston Homes Community Stadium.
In 2007, under then Manager Paul Lambert, Dunne became Reserve Team Manager. When Lambert resigned to join Norwich Joe took over on a caretaker basis for four matches before Aidy Boothroyd took the hot seat.
In September 2012 Dunne was given the opportunity as full time Manager on a 12-month rolling contract.
The Skipper – Brian Wilson
The defender came through the youth system at Stoke City before a brief loan spell at Cheltenham was made permanent in March 2004.
After over 120 games for the club he signed for Bristol City in January 2007 before joining Colchester in June 2010.
One to Watch – Jabo Ibehre
The striker signed for the club on a free transfer this time last season after a successful loan spell.
He began his career at Leyton Orient, spending eight years at the Matchroom Stadium before signing for Walsall.
A one year stint at the Bescot alerted the attention of MK Dons who signed the forward on a two-year deal. Loan spells at Southend and Stockport preceded his move to Essex.
Colchester – the season so far
After their opening day triumph at Priestfield Colchester went on to win just one league fixture in their next 12 outings, finally ending their wait for three points when they beat Peterborough 1-0 at home in late October.
They go in to Saturday’s match having won two of their last four games, including a 4-0 victory over Stevenage.
As for their progress in the cups, Colchester lost 5-1 to Peterborough in the first round of the Capital One Cup.
Dagenham & Redbridge beat United 4-1 at the first hurdle in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, and in the FA Cup they also suffered a first round exit after a 3-2 defeat to Sheffield United.
The last time the two clubs met was on the opening day of the season when a late goal from Andy Bond stole all three points from the visitors at the death.
The Gills haven’t beaten Colchester since August 2005 when goals from Andrew Crofts and Darren Byfield helped to clinch a 2-1 win for the hosts.
In the head to head statistics there is nothing to choose between the clubs. Of the 76 games played both clubs have won 26 matches each, with 24 fixtures resulting in a draw.
Current Form (last six league games):
Colchester: LLWWLD (7 points)
Gills: LDWLDW (8 points)
Sky Bet have given the Gills odds of 11/5 to win the game with Colchester at a shorter price of 5/4.
Cody McDonald and Danny Kedwell are joint favourites to score first for the Gills at 7/1. If you fancy either player scoring a hat-trick then both have odds of 80/1.
To register for a Sky Bet account and to place your bet on Saturday’s fixture, click here.
Referee- Darren Drysdale
Assistants - Richard Kendall and Michael Smith
Fourth Official - Mark Mellor