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U's travel to Madejski for Carabao Cup first round

4 September 2020

Colchester United travel to the Madejski Stadium for the opening game of the 2020/21 season in the first round of the Carabao Cup.

The U's kick off their campaign at Championship side Reading, with Steve Ball taking charge of his first competitive match since being appointed permanent head coach. 

Hayden Mullins will also be in the dugout for his first match with the U's after being appointed as second in command to Ball yesterday. 

Also new in the dugout will be the opposing manager, installed into his position just last weekend. 

Veljko Paunovic was brought in after the departure of Mark Bown with just over a week until the first game against the U's and has had just one game to get to know his squad. 

Paunovic who originally hails from Serbia has had playing spells in Spain, Germany, Russia and the US, as well as managing the Serbian U20s team to World Cup glory in 2015, before taking charge of Chicago Fire in the States. 

Speaking ahead of the match, head coach Steve Ball said it would be a tough game against a good side. 

"They've got a new manager, with proven pedigree. They've got really good Championship players, they're going to present us with a really tough game."

Ball will be drawing upon the experiences from last season's Carabao Cup run, where the U's were knocked out in the Quarter Finals by Manchester United, as motivation for another chance this season. 

"Anyone that was with the group last year and had such brilliant nights and occasions will want more of that, and this could be the start of that again. We turn back to those experiences which were great times and hopefully we can do it again."

It will be the first time the U's have faced Reading since 2015, when the Royals travelled to the JobServe Community Stadium for a first round League Cup tie. The visitors ended up knocking United out thanks to an extra-time goal.

The U's haven't played at the Madejski in eighteen years, making it a first trip to the stadium since a 3-0 defeat in 2002 against a side that included Colchester United heroes Phil Parkinson and Jamie Cureton. 

You can keep up with all the action from Reading with a £10 match pass, giving you access to watch the entire game from the Madejski Stadium. To purchase yours, click HERE

For help on how to purchase a match pass, click HERE

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