I AM not one of those crying out for a change of manager at Colchester United.

John Ward has a difficult job on his hands, working within a tight budget and a small squad, while trying to manage such high expectations - of mounting a challenge for the top six.

He does not have vast amounts of money to spend on new players, to compete favourably with the likes of Charlton, Huddersfield and the two Sheffield clubs.

Chairman Robbie Cowling has tried the alternative "free-spending" method already, with previous managers Paul Lambert and Aidy Boothroyd, only to get his fingers burnt.

Now Cowling is focusing on guaranteeing the long-term future of the club, with an experienced manager in tow, while developing the club's training facilities and youth team set-up.

However, I will concede this much - that this is one of the poorest, if not THE poorest, Colchester United squad for a generation.

I first started reporting on the U's back in 1992, when they regained their Football League status, and it's not been all plain sailing, far from it.

A popular pastime for supporters is to select their all-time favourite team, from their own years of watching their beloved U's. I'm no exception.

A good gauge of how a current squad compares to past squads, therefore, is to see how many current players would get into their all-time starting XI, or even all-time 16-man squad.

Well, here's my confession - I'd struggle to pick any of the class of 2011-12. And that tells a sorry tale.

I would consider the likes of Mark Kinsella and Tony English, from Roy McDonough's regime, with others from the early 1990s like Tony Adcock, Steve McGavin, Martin Grainger and Paul Abrahams in the frame.

From the Wembley excursions of the late 1990s, I would look to recruit dependable players such as Tony McCarthy, Peter Cawley and Richard Wilkins. And we mustn't forget Lomana Lua Lua from around the turn of the century!

Of course the vast majority of an all-time squad would stem from the promotion-winning heroes of 2005-06, and the following year's campaign in the Championship - Kevin Watson, Wayne Brown, Chris Iwelumo, Jamie Cureton, Neil Danns and Richard Garcia spring to mind.

But what of the current squad? Kem Izzet and Pat Baldwin have both been terrific stalwarts of the club, and Steven Gillespie is a striker blessed with so much talent (but blighted by injury), yet they wouldn't sneak into my all-time squad.

And that's a sad indictment of the current squad.

I think it's good enough to finish in mid-table, in League One, but Ward's squad lacks the individual sparkle (oh, how we miss loanee Michail Antonio!) to compare favourably to the bright sparks of past squads.

And just for a bit of fun, here's my all-time Colchester squad of the past 20 years (loanees not included):

1 Aidan Davison (gk)

2 Greg Halford (rb)

3 Martin Grainger (lb)

4 Tony McCarthy (ch)

5 Wayne Brown (ch)

6 Mark Yeates (rw)

7 Mark Kinsella (cm)

8 Neil Dannis (cm)

9 Tony Adcock (s)

10 Lomana Lua Lua (s)

11 Paul Abrahams (lw)

And here's my all-time Colchester "B" squad from those 20 years:

1 Simon Brown (gk)

2 Joe Dunne (rb)

3 Marc Tierney (lb)

4 Peter Cawley (ch)

5 Tony English (ch)

6 Richard Garcia (rw)

7 Kevin Watson (cm)

8 Richard Wilkins (cm)

9 Chris Iwelumo (s)

10 Jamie Cureton (s)

11 Johnnie Jackson (lw)