Carl Marston’s verdict: Worrying times for Colchester United
There is no shortage of early-season worries for the U’s.
We may only be three matches into the new season, but already the alarm bells are starting to sound at Colchester United.
And that’s not just because only one point has been accrued from a possible nine, following away defeats at Accrington Stanley and Luton Town, and a 1-1 home draw against Stevenage.
The performances, rather than the results, are causing the biggest cause for concern, and much of that can be put down to the loss of key personnel from last season.
At the moment, manager John McGreal is effectively robbed of arguably his best four players of last season – Chris Porter, Brennan Dickenson, Kurtis Guthrie and George Elokobi – two to departures and two to injuries.
Porter and Elokobi are now at Crewe and Leyton Orient respectively, while Dickenson is out injured until February, and Guthrie is still some way off a return to first-team action due to an ankle injury.
Shorn of these key players, it is perhaps no wonder that the U’s currently find themselves second-from-bottom of the Football League, after two weeks of the season.
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The three players who all boasted a double figures goal-tally from last term, Porter, Dickenson and Guthrie, have been sorely missed.
To rub salt into the wounds, Porter again scored for new club Crewe, his third of the season, with the winner in a 1-0 success over Barnet on Saturday.
So it is not just the U’s current plight that is worrying. It is how they are going to turn things around in the immediate future, hindered by injures and lacking in experience, that is causing eyebrows to be raised.
The visit of Forest Green Rovers next Saturday is therefore a crunch game, even though it’s still only August.