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Kings of Anglia Issue 8 Magazine Offer

Comment: U’s showing all the signs of being promotion contenders

PUBLISHED: 06:00 10 September 2018

Harry Pell, who scored his second goal of the season with a 61st minute equaliser at Tranmere Rovers. Picture: STEVE WALLER

Harry Pell, who scored his second goal of the season with a 61st minute equaliser at Tranmere Rovers. Picture: STEVE WALLER

© Copyright Stephen Waller

Colchester United are showing all the hallmarks of a side who can be serious promotion contenders this season.

That was clearly on show at Prenton Park on Saturday, as the U’s secured another battling away point, at a tough place, to preserve their top-five berth.

Harry Pell came up trumps with a 61st minute equaliser, the first visiting player to score at Tranmere this season. He buried a snap shot from 10 yards out after home keeper Scott Davies had only managed to half-clear a cross by Brennan Dickenson.

Earlier, the prolific James Norwood had grabbed his seventh goal of the season with a precise angled drive on 42 minutes.

So what are these hallmarks of a successful side?

Firstly, the U’s have already shown a lot of resilience, during the first month or so of the campaign. They have now twice rallied from a goal down, on their travels, to secure a league point, at Mansfield and now Tranmere, to say nothing of their late double to peg back Cheltenham to a 2-2 draw in the Checkatrade Trophy.

Secondly, John McGreal’s men are managing to eek out results, despite missing key players at various times.

In addition to the injured Tom Lapslie (six weeks out with a knee injury), the U’s were missing fellow midfielder Brandon Comley (on international duty with Montserrat) and club captain Luke Prosser (one-match ban).

Thirdly, the U’s are showing an adaptability to employ different systems to good effect, even within a game, again exemplified at Tranmere with boss McGreal, switching from a 3-5-2 formation to a flat back-four to stem the flow of Rovers’ attacks.

There are another indicators of future success as well.

Fourthly, the U’s are going to be no pushovers on the road. They are now unbeaten in four away league games, an impressive record for any team.

And fifthly, they can already boast eight different goalscorers this season, showing that they will not be relying on just Sammie Szmodics and their strikers (Frank Nouble and Mikael Mandron have not even scored yet!), unlike last term.

There are many other reasons, of course, but the case has been made, I think, for expecting Colchester to be a top-seven side, at worst, by the end of this season.

Kayden Jackson is hoping his goal in Tuesday night’s 1-1 draw with Brentford is the first of many as he continues to get to grips with the challenge of the Championship.

Paul Hurst doesn’t expect midfielder Teddy Bishop to be out for too long despite picking up a hamstring injury but Jon Walters is now a doubt for Saturday’s game with Bolton.

In our new daily feature, we take a look back at what happened on this day in Ipswich Town history.

Ipswich Town came-from-behind to draw 1-1 with Brentford at Portman Road last night. STUART WATSON gives his snap verdict.

Ipswich Town manager Paul Hurst hailed the character of his players following their gutsy comeback draw against Brentford at Portman Road tonight.

Andy Warren hands out his player grades following Ipswich Town’s 1-1 draw with Brentford at Portman Road.

Ipswich Town produced a second-half turnaround as they battled back to secure a 1-1 draw against Brentford on the night the club paid tribute to the late Kevin Beattie.

Ipswich Town take on Brentford this evening as they search for their first victory under manager Paul Hurst (7.45pm).

Ipswich Town’s players, staff, fans and legends paid an emotional tribute to the late, great, Kevin Beattie prior to kick-off of this evening’s clash with Brentford.

Paul Hurst is not hiding from the fact he could face the sack if his winless start to life as Ipswich Town manager goes on much longer.

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