The Valiants come into this game with four wins in our last four home games as we welcome Colchester United to Vale Park.
In the Dugout
Hayden Mullins began his coaching career at Watford U23s in 2016 and also had two interim spells in charge of Watford’s first team in 2019 and 2020 managing four games and losing three. He became Colchester United interim boss in March 2021 before coming the permanent manager in May.
Man with the Armband
New Zealand international and Colchester captain Tommy Smith was born just up the road in Macclesfield and started his youth career at neighbours Crewe Alexandra. He moved to Ipswich Town in 2007 and made over 240 appearances for the club. Before moving to Colchester in 2020 Smith played for them in 2011 on loan from Ipswich making 6 appearances.
The centre-half has helped his side to three clean sheets this season but arguably his highlight so far was playing in two international friendlies for New Zealand earlier this month against Curacao and Bahrain where he came off the bench twice and saw his side win both games. Since returning he has not started in Colchester’s last two fixtures.
Essex boy Noah Chilvers began his youth career at Chelmsford City before moving to Colchester’s setup in 2009. He has remained at the U’s and made over 50 appearances for the club. Two seasons ago he was loaned out to Bath City but returned and won Colchester’s player of the year and young player of the year last season.
The attacking midfielder has scored twice this season including his late equaliser at home to Bristol Rovers in Colchester’s last game as a second half substitute. His other goal turned out to be the difference in the U’s 2-1 win away at Oldham. The 20-year-old has featured in every game this season except for the opener against Carlisle showing despite his young age he is capable of putting in consistent performances week in and week out.
31-year-old Freddie Sears is Colchester’s top scorer with three goals. He got two in back-to-back games in August, a 95th minute equaliser at home to Mansfield Town from the penalty spot and another penalty away to Oldham in a 2-1 win. His most recent goal was in a 3-2 away to Barrow on the 10th of September.
Last time out and recent form
In the U’s last five games they have picked up two wins, a draw and two defeats. A win over West Ham United U21s in the trophy and a home victory against high flying Harrogate Town. Two 2-0 defeats against Salford City and Tranmere Rovers. The point they picked up was in their last game against Bristol Rovers.
After a quiet first half Brett Pitman scored the opener for Bristol Rovers in the 58th minute. Cian Harries received a second booking on 87 minutes and Noah Chilvers scored the equaliser a minute later. In the first minute of stoppage time a fight broke out between Rovers’ Trevor Clarke and the U’s Junior Tchamadeu which resulted in both men getting sent off and the game remained 1-1.