Saturday 5 September ~
Despite a good start to the season, the famously voluble Blackpool manager Ian Holloway has been relatively quiet recently. This is in stark comparison to the 2007-08 campaign when he maintained a BBC online column full of knockabout anecdote, while also finding the time to get Leicester City relegated. On taking the Colchester Utd job last Wednesday, Aidy Boothroyd sailed worryingly close to this type of personality-based management. He compared his departure from Watford and arrival in Essex to the divorce of a “wonderful marriage” followed a new relationship with the “right woman”.
Whatever his wife may think of these comments, Boothroyd's appointment has at least created a great deal of enthusiasm around Colchester. Some good news was needed following the loss of manager Paul Lambert to Norwich after a 7-1 opening day victory over their more celebrated East Anglian neighbours. Today his new club travel to Southampton, a club who have only knocked three points off their minus ten starting tally in the first five games. The Saints need to start picking up wins rather than draws and felt particularly aggrieved last weekend when Stockport scored an injury-time equaliser from a disputed penalty.
Manager Alan Pardew has been happy with his side's performances so far but is honest in his desperation for a win: "The most important thing for us is to get teams on the back foot before they arrive by getting results, and we haven't been able to do that yet.” He is unlikely to field new signing Radhi Jaidi due to work permit problems but may be able to play Senegal international striker Papa Waigo N'Diaye, on a season-long loan from Fiorentina. The Southampton manager believes that the timing of Boothroyd's arrival at Colchester will make his side's task much more difficult.
A statistic that might support Pardew and one that both Southampton and Colchester fans have been quick to comment on is Aidy Boothroyd's record against his opponents today while at former club Watford. The five league matches all ended in wins for Boothroyd's team and Watford never failed to score less than three. Southampton's best reply was two goals, nearly two years ago to the weekend in September 2007. Colchester sit currently in fifth and have scored 13 goals, helped of course by the double-edged win at Norwich. However, they still haven't managed a clean sheet this season. Don't expect one at St Mary's stadium today.