MATTY Etherington admits it is crucial Colchester United strike the right balance with their team selection when they host West Ham United’s in-form under-21s tonight.

The U’s are looking to book their place in the Bristol Street Motors Trophy last 16 when they face the Hammers youngsters, at the JobServe Community Stadium (kick-off 7.30pm).

Etherington, who has forward pair Samson Tovide and Jayden Fevrier back again after suspension along with John Akinde after injury, is eager to see his team progress to the next round against his former club’s youngsters, who have gone 14 games unbeaten, in all competitions.

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And the ex-West Ham winger knows getting the right blend between youth and experience could prove key tonight.

Etherington said: “It’ll be a good game for us.

“Up until the Barrow game, the results had been decent so it’s just about picking ourselves back up again and trying to get a positive result and then onto Crawley, on Saturday.

“We want to get to the next round and the last 16 on Tuesday night.


“Hopefully, we’ll do that and we’ll see where it takes us.

“I think it’s key in these games to get the balance right.

“If you look at the Peterborough game it was right and we’ve got to get it right again, on Tuesday night.

“There’s an opportunity for some younger players and there’s also an opportunity for some squad players that are maybe not playing week in, week out and you’ve got to play some of the players who have played more recently as well.

“We’ve got a team in mind and it’ll be a team to go out there and win.”

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Colchester head into tonight’s match on the back of three successive league defeats.

The U’s did not have a game last weekend, giving Etherington extra time with his players on the training pitch following a hectic recent fixture schedule.

“There’s been a few things that we’ve tried to implement,” said Etherington.

“There’s a real understanding of the way I want us to play; there’s been some really good performances but last Tuesday was the most disappointing.

“It’s been a chance to draw a little line in the sand and move forward, so that’s been really positive.


“It’s been full on since I came in, to say the least.

“It’s been a time for the players to rest but also some really valuable time to get what I want over to the players, which I thought was important this week.”

Colchester have looked vulnerable defending set pieces over recent games and Etherington says he has had a positive discussion with his players about improving in that area.

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He added: “We went through all of the set plays recently and I wanted to open the floor up to the players as well, just to get their thoughts on it.

“I thought we came to some very good findings in the end.

“The proof will be out there on a matchday, don’t get me wrong but the players spoke really well and really positively and also gave us some things where they felt we could be doing better, so we’ll take that on board and into the game.”