Colchester United will hope to make it into the last sixteen of the Papa Johns Trophy on Wednesday evening, hosting League One Bristol Rovers.
Matt Bloomfield’s side enter the knockout stages of the competition full of confidence after an encouraging win against Doncaster Rovers in the league on Saturday afternoon.
And Bloomfield’s U’s are one of only a handful to remain unbeaten in the Group Stages of the Papa Johns Trophy, with wins over Brighton and Charlton, and a draw at Gillingham.
The U’s could opt for changes in their game against Bristol Rovers, with Tommy Smith, Emyr Huws and Matty Longstaff returning to the fray at the weekend.
Bristol Rovers come into the game sitting mid-table in Sky Bet League One, having picked up three points in their last game. Scott Sinclair netted his first league goal on his return to Rovers as Joey Barton’s side claimed all three points.
The Gas made it through the Group Stages of the Papa Johns Trophy finishing as runners-up in Southern Group E. Missing out on the top spot courtesy of a penalty shoot-out defeat to Plymouth Argyle, Barton’s team held off competition from Crystal Palace U21 and Swindon Town to qualify.
They kicked off their campaign with a 1-1 draw at the Pilgrims, followed up by a 2-0 win against Palace, and 3-0 against the Robins with the latter two both at the Memorial Stadium.
And Bristol Rovers record of just one goal conceded in the tournament so far is bettered by only one team, with Port Vale yet to concede.
The obvious danger men for Barton’s side come at the top end of the pitch with former U’s loanee, Aaron Collins, hitting ten for the campaign so far. A tally only superseded by Peterborough’s Jonson Clarke-Harris, Collins’ double-figure tally, combined with seven assists makes him a potent threat.
Former Manchester City, Chelsea and Celtic man Scott Sinclair returned to his first club a month ago, and has netted twice in six appearances, including in the last match against the Posh.
James Belshaw has been the regular first choice for league games, but Anssi Jaakkola has been preferred in the Papa Johns Trophy. With three international caps to his name for Finland, the experienced Jaakkola want to continue his good form in the tournament.
Last Time We Met
Elliott Anderson bagged the only goal of the game early in the second half in last season's League Two clash at the Memorial Stadium. The U's put the pressure on with Chilvers and Eastman going close, but Wayne Brown's side were unable to make the breakthrough.
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Tickets will also be available to purchase on the day from the Club Shop, or online from Col U Tickets right up until kick off.
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