Tamer Fernandes can make the Colchester United goalkeeper's jersey his own if he keeps a clean sheet at Chesterfield on Saturday and goes on to perform well for the rest of the season.

U's boss Steve Wignall said today as he prepared his squad for one of their toughest Division Two games to date: "Tamer's been handed his chance because of injury and suspension to Carl Emberson.

"It's up to him now to show me what he's made of."

Former Brentford and England Youth international keeper Fernandes enjoyed a successful U's debut in the 2-2 home draw with Luton Town last week after patiently waiting in Emberson's shadow during the past 11 months for his big chance.

Wignall said: "From my point of view it's great to have such good competition for the keeper's jersey.

"I now have a situation where I have two genuine first team keepers and I have always said whichever of them performs well will get the nod.

"Carl has been number one for some time now and he only lost his place because of injury and suspension.

"I'm sure he will be fighting hard to reclaim his place in the team, but Tamer has the jersey now and has a chance to make sure he hangs on to it by performing well."

Another polished display from Fernandes at Chesterfield will go down well with the U's boss.

Wignall is more than aware that Chesterfield on their own ground will be a very tough nut to crack.

The Spireites have dropped only four points at home - one defeat and a draw - in nine League outings to date.

And Wignall pointed out: "Their manager John Duncan is not going to want to lose and suffer a double defeat against us."

The U's won the opening game of the season against the Spireites 1-0 courtesy of a last minute Mark Sale goal.

Wignall said: "My lads played with their hearts on their sleeve when drawing with Luton last week and if they give me a repeat of that tomorrow we will be very difficult to beat."

Fullback Joe Dunne could be doubtful for the trip. He reported in with flu today, but there could be a surprise outing in the squad for reserve team striker Lomano Tresor Lua Lua.

It is nine-games since a striker last netted for the U's and Wignall will be looking for an improvement on that score.

U's youth team launch their 1999 South East Counties League campaign with a home game against Reading on Saturday morning at the Garrison B Ground, kick-off 11am.

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