Latics and Colchester United meet for the first time in almost 13 years on Saturday.
- Gary Caldwell has almost full squad to select from on Saturday.
- Latics unbeaten in last six games in all competitions and haven’t lost in first six Sky Bet League One games at the DW Stadium.
- Colchester have lost their previous two fixtures, having won previous four.
Wigan Athletic host Colchester United on Saturday afternoon at the DW Stadium (3pm kick-off) as they look to extend both their current unbeaten run in all competitions and their Sky Bet League One home unbeaten run, to seven games.
Latics have won two and drawn four of their last six matches in all competitions and they come up against a Colchester United side that have lost their two league fixtures following a run of four consecutive wins in September.
The U’s will come up against a close to full strength Latics side as every first team player, excluding long-term absentee Kevin McNaughton, trained on Thursday in preparation for the game.
Tickets are available up until kick-off for this fixture with adult tickets priced at £20, Over 65s £17, Under 18s £10, Under 11s £5 and Under 5s £2.
COLCHESTER UNITED FC
Nine years since Chris Iwelumo’s goals and Phil Parkinson’s tactical nous guided the U’s to the Championship for the first time in their history – the same season in which Latics finished tenth in their inaugural Premier League campaign - not many would have expected the Essex side to be just one point and two places behind us in the Football League pyramid. Granted that is more of a sign of our brutal blows back to the third tier, but Colchester United are heading in the right direction again, in what is their eighth season in Sky Bet League One, after just a two-year stay in the second tier.
Phil Parkinson led Colchester United to the Championship in 2006.
Now in the fantastic Weston Homes Community Stadium, the U’s home since 2008, the club were originally at Layer Road, a ground they shared with Colchester Town before becoming the town’s main team, and turning professional, as Colchester United in 1937. Elected to the Football League in 1950, the U’s have bounced between the third and fourth tier for the majority of the 65 years since, with those two seasons in the Championship and a brief two-year stay in the Conference, the only time Colchester haven’t been a Third or Fourth Division occupant.
Until promotion to the Championship in 2006, Colchester were most notable for their FA Cup exploits. Their best run coming in the 1970-71 competition when Dick Graham’s Fourth Division side defeated Ringmer, Cambridge United, Barnet and Rochdale before facing Don Revie’s mighty Leeds United in the fifth round, securing one of the club’s most memorable results as two Ray Crawford goals and a strike from Dave Simmons gave the Layer Road side a 3-0 lead, and they would hold firm despite Norman Hunter and Johnny Giles pulling goals back. The quarter-finals would prove a step too far as Everton smashed Colchester 5-0 at Goodison Park in front of over 53,000.
After the high of promotion in 2006, and a tenth place second tier finish which saw the U’s finish above Ipswich Town, Norwich City and Southend United to win a ‘Pride of Anglia’ award, Colchester were relegated in 2008 and have since spent all of their stay at their new stadium in the third tier. Their highest finish since relegation was eighth in 2010, whilst they have flirted with relegation twice in the past four seasons as 2013 saw a final day victory at Carlisle United prove enough for safety and last season’s home victory over Preston North End on the last day also secured the narrowest of survivals.
The man who oversaw Colchester’s most recent survival, Tony Humes, has enjoyed his time at the helm after taking over from Joe Dunne in 2014, stepping up from his role as Head of Youth for the U’s. Humes, who has won just under 34% of the 59 games he has taken charge of, brought through Alex Gilbey, Sammie Szmodics and Tosin Olufemi during his time working in Colchester’s academy and has added experience to his group this summer.
Tony Humes led the U's to safety last season and has enjoyed a solid start to this campaign.
After releasing quite a few of his most experienced players, including defenders Sean Clohessy and Magnus Okuonghae, midfielder David Fox and forwards Jabo Ibehre and Sanchez Watt, Humes padded his squad out with some shrewd business as goalkeeper Elliot Parish arrived from Blackpool, defenders Matthew Briggs (Millwall), George Elokobi (Oldham Athletic) and Richard Brindley (Rotherham United) also joined whilst experienced midfielders Owen Garvan (Crystal Palace), Darren Ambrose (Ipswich Town) and Joe Edwards (Yeovil Town) signed for the U’s. Arguably, though, the best summer purchase came in attack as last month Marvin Sordell signed from Burnley and has already scored twice in seven appearances. Humes has also used the loan market to good effect, bringing in Callum Harriott from Charlton Athletic until January, whilst goalkeeper Jamie Jones has arrived on a temporary deal from Preston North End.
Former Watford, Bolton Wanderers and Burnley striker Marvin Sordell arrived in Essex in September.
Colchester’s pre-season campaign saw them record comfortable victories over non-league sides Heybridge Swifts, Brentwood Town and Bishop’s Stortford before they defeated Premier League West Ham United 1-0 at the Weston Homes Community Stadium. Home defeats to Leyton Orient and Fulham followed either side of a home win over local rivals Ipswich Town as Humes’ side entered the campaign in high spirits.
Their start, however, could not have contrasted any more as the U’s failed to win in any of their opening eight games in all competitions. A 2-2 home draw with Blackpool on the opening day was followed by an extra-time Capital One Cup first round exit at the hands of Championship Reading before defeats at Peterborough United and Fleetwood Town, either side of a goalless draw with Oldham Athletic, left Colchester second bottom come the end of August.
September kicked-off with a Johnstone’s Paint Trophy first round defeat to League Two Northampton Town but that result seemed to awaken the lowly Essex side as a late comeback at Chesterfield earned a 3-3 draw before four consecutive wins, against Sheffield United, Gillingham, Swindon Town and Bradford City, lifted the U’s up to eighth.
A home defeat to Bury and 4-2 loss at Shrewsbury Town last time out has seen Colchester drop to 12th in League One but a win today would move Humes’ side towards the fringes of the top six.
Colchester are the leakiest defence in the division, having conceded 22 goals from their opening 12 games, 16 of which have come away from home. Only Bury and Millwall have scored more than the U’s 11 away league goals, though, with midfielder George Moncur bagging four of those eleven.
George Moncur has started the 2015-16 season in fine form with five goals in 13 appearances in all competitions.
In the build-up to Saturday's Sky Bet League One fixture with Colchester United at the DW Stadium, we take a step back into our video archives to pull out some classic footage from our second season at the new stadium, with forward Simon Haworth making history to become the first player ever to score a hat-trick at the then named JJB.
Rounded off inside 50 minutes with an acrobatic overhead kick, Haworth's hat-trick was assisted completely by Andy Liddell and the 3-1 win sent Latics into sixth place in Division Two, the same position they would finish come the end of the 2000/01 season.
FOLLOW THE MATCH
You can listen to Latics v Colchester United on LaticsPlayerHD as our commentary team of Ashley Houghton and former Latics captain Neill Rimmer take you through every kick on our new and improved service. Sign up now by [clicking here].
With a LaticsPlayerHD subscription at £4.49 for a month or £37.99 for an annual pass, you will also access exclusive extended highlights, as well as all of our pre and post-match interviews and features.
You can also delve deep into our archives for your favourite classic matches as we continue to update our library!
If you’re in the Wigan area, you can also tune into 102.4 WISH FM.
You can also enjoy our FREE text commentary service Latics Wall, with in-game photos from our Club Photographer, Bernard Platt, at pitch side and interaction with other Wigan Athletic supporters.