Friday, April 13, 2007

Reds ready for the champions elect!


CHAMPIONS-elect FC United are the visitors at Holt House tomorrow as Colne look to continue their impressive recent form.

United can seal the title with a win, providing Curzon Ashton lose at home to Ramsbottom, but Nigel Coates' men are out to spoil any party as they look to build on a fine sequence of six games without defeat.

However, the Reds know they have a job on their hands to put a spanner in the works against free-scoring United, as Coates said: "It is a big test.

"We've lost to them twice this season, in the cup at home we should have been in front at half-time, but they scored a cracking goal, and then the circumstances changed with a sending-off early in the second half, and it finished 4-0.

"I didn't think that reflected how the game had gone. But in the league, at Gigg Lane, they gave us a 6-2 hiding.

"We're susceptible to crosses, and they caught us out that afternoon.

"We have to be better defending set-pieces and crosses."

Indeed, over the last two games, Colne have been undone by a lack of aerial dominance, and Coates added: "The goal we conceded against Trafford came from a free kick flighted in, and we didn't deal with the second ball, and against Bacup their goal came from a free kick.

"We have problems defending set pieces, and we can only keep working on it, but FC United are very strong in the air.

"We can cause them problems at the other end, but it depends on how much possession we can get.

"They are flying at the moment and are steamrolling sides. They are probably the best I've seen at this level, along with Cammell Laird, although Cammell Laird had more flair.

"They will be confident, and we have to guard against conceding early.

"All I can ask is to try and keep our unbeaten going, and see it through to the end of the season. That's what we'll aim for."

Colne picked up two draws over the Easter weekend to stretch their run to six without defeat, and Coates looked back: "We certainly should have beaten Bacup on Monday, but it was probably a fair result at Trafford.

"The attitude of the lads was spot on in both games though, they kept going right to the end.

"We're six games unbeaten now, and we've had some tough away games in that time as well.

"We've only had two of those games at home, and we have been down to the bare bones throughout the run, but we've kept it going."

To that end, the news from the treatment room doesn't get any better, with eight players missing on Monday that would have been involved in the squad.

The likes of Scott Gizon, Paul Walker, Gavin Cooper and Ashley Alderson expected to be out for the rest of the season, while Chris Whittaker is unavailable due to college commitments.

Coates said: "It just goes on, but we'll get on with it."
Kick-off tomorrow is at 3 p.m.