MATTY Etherington has set his sights on Colchester United qualifying for the Bristol Street Motors EFL Trophy knockout stages when he faces his former club Peterborough United tonight.

The U’s know they will definitely progress from Southern Group D as runners-up providing they avoid defeat to their League One opponents, at the JobServe Community Stadium (kick-off 7.30pm).

Posh have already qualified and will go through as group winners, as long as they do not lose by four goals or more tonight.

And U’s boss Etherington, who played and coached at Peterborough, wants to join his old club in the Round of 32.

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Etherington said: “We want to qualify.

“I think it’ll be a good experience for the football club, if we can get out of the group and go into the latter rounds.”

Colchester are in the middle of a hectic run of games, with three games in the space of seven days on the horizon in League Two.

Gazette: Matty Etherington

Etherington has hinted he could make changes to his Colchester starting line-up tonight.

The U’s will again be without top scorer Joe Taylor, who is unable to face his former club as he is on international duty with Wales under-21s.

“I think there’s players that we probably need to look after,” said Etherington.

“I’ll have a discussion with George (Keen) and Dave (Huzzey) and Scott (Marshall) around that and which way we go but it won’t be wholesale.”

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Etherington insists every member of his Colchester squad will get the chance to impress, following his appointment as the club's permanent head coach.

The likes of Matt Jay and Tom Hopper have found their starting opportunities limited for the U's so far, this season but Etherington says everyone will get an opportunity to shine.

“It’s 100 per cent a clean slate," added Etherington.


“I’ve had honest conversations with most of the boys now about exactly where they stand.

“I’ll judge them out there on the training pitch, I’ll judge them when they’re in that team and they get on the pitch and solely on that and the way they are in the building; whether they’re a positive influence around the group or a negative.

“I’ve told them as a group that there’ll be real clarity from me and no grey areas.

“I want them to come and see me straight away and they’ll get all the support in the world from me and I think that’s really important as a player.

“That’s what I want to give them, consistency."