Bumper crowd set for Colchester grudge match

Michael Bailey Colchester United have confirmed tickets are selling fast for the League One grudge match with Norwich City in little more than two weeks' time.The Canaries' rivalry with their Essex neighbours has intensified greatly this season off the back of an unforgettable opening to the season and the departure of Paul Lambert and his management team for Norwich in August.

Michael Bailey

Colchester United have said tickets are selling fast for the League One grudge match with Norwich City in little more than two weeks' time.

The Canaries' rivalry with their Essex neighbours has intensified this season off the back of an unforgettable opening to the campaign and the departure of Paul Lambert and his management team for Norwich in August.

Those fractions have continued into the new year, with United chairman Robbie Cowling refusing repeated requests from City to increase their allocation from 1,900 seats to the levels afforded to Leeds and Southampton for their visits to the Weston Homes Community Stadium.


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United confirmed yesterday the ground's South Stand had already sold out and only limited tickets were available in the West Stand.

City fans have until 2pm tomorrow to hand in their written ticket applications for the visitors' allocation at the game, which takes place on Saturday, January 16.

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The Canaries suffered a record 7-1 home defeat to Lambert's Colchester on the opening day of the season, and 10 days later the Scot, Ian Culverhouse and Gary Karsa arrived to take over at Carrow Road.

Compensation has yet to be agreed over those departures, with a Football League tribunal set to take place soon. Cowling has demanded Norwich be deducted points for their alleged conduct over appointing the trio.

The spat continued with the Colchester chairman declaring he would rather lose �30,000 than hand more tickets to visiting Norwich fans and admitting "I'm not sure I have ever wanted to win a game of football so badly" as against City next month.

United's new stadium holds 10,000 and had a season high 8,810 for the visit of League One leaders Leeds United at the end of August.

Colchester fans are likely to turn out in numbers for the visit of City and make their feelings clear to Lambert over his exit after just 10 months in charge, despite former Norwich City academy coach Aidy Boothroyd keeping pace with League One's promotion chasers since succeeding the Scot.

The two sides currently boast identical records after playing half their games, with City ahead of their East Anglian rivals only on goal difference.

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