‘We are going to go for the top three’ – Colchester United’s Sammie Szmodics

Sammie Szmodics celebrates scoring the winner at Barnet during Saturday's 1-0 win. Picture: PAGEPIX

Sammie Szmodics celebrates scoring the winner at Barnet during Saturday's 1-0 win. Picture: PAGEPIX - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

Sammie Szmodics is not just eying up the play-offs – he is targeting the top three!

Livewire Szmodics put all his injury woes behind him to slam home a terrific 84th minute in Saturday’s hard-earned 1-0 victory at struggling Barnet.

Unleashed as a substitute, just 11 minutes earlier, to make his first league appearance since damaging ankle ligaments seven weeks earlier, Szmodics beat Bees keeper Jamie Stephens all ends up with a cracking long-range drive.

The win lifted the U’s up to 10th in the table, just two points adrift of the play-offs, although Szmodics is looked beyond that.

“We are all positive in there. The only way is up at the minute,” enthused Szmodics.

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“That’s the way we are looking, and we are going to go for the top three. There’s no reason why not.

“It’s not just the top seven we are looking at – the top seven is a minimum.

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“We aim for the top seven at the beginning of the season, but with the form that we are in, and the way that we are playing at the minute, there’s no reason why we can’t finish in the top three. That’s what we are aiming for,” added Szmodics.

Despite already missing a large chunk of this season, Szmodics is now the U’s joint top scorer with Mikael Mandron on six goals.

And the U’s, thanks to a run of just one defeat in eight league matches, are creeping up towards the top three automatic promotion slots.

They are now eight points behind third-placed Exeter – the Grecians were the only team in the top seven to win on Saturday.

- Carl Marston’s U’s Player Ratings

As regards his impact as a substitute at The Hive, Szmodics said: “We’ve looked at this game in the week. We didn’t really get any shots off in the first half, and Bally (assistant Steve Ball) said to me that I have to go on and shoot.

“I got the ball in the box straight away. I’m a striker in the 18-yard box and there were people to pass to, but I thought to myself – ‘I am going to turn and have a shot and have a go’ – the keeper saved that one.

“The next time, Ryan Jackson has got around me and the space has opened up and I have hit it as hard as I can. Thankfully, it has gone in and we have won the match.

“But overall, defensively we were fantastic today.

“Our defenders won everything, they handled (John) Akinde and they handled everything that got thrown at them, heading balls and throwing their bodies in front of shots.”

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