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Cheltenham Town v Colchester United: ‘It hasn’t been up to standard’ – John McGreal on the U’s away form

PUBLISHED: 06:00 15 September 2017

Colchester United boss John McGreal, handing out directions during Tuesday night's 1-1 draw against Chesterfield. Picture: STEVE WALLER

Colchester United boss John McGreal, handing out directions during Tuesday night's 1-1 draw against Chesterfield. Picture: STEVE WALLER

© Copyright Stephen Waller

John McGreal has admitted that some of Colchester United’s away displays have “not been up to standard,” and that a big improvement is needed.

The U’s have only won once on the road throughout this year – a 3-1 win at already doomed Leyton Orient in late April – a dismal record that has certainly held them back, in terms of launching a promotion bid.

To date this term, the U’s have lost on the road at Accrington Stanley (3-1), Luton (3-0) and Cambridge (1-0).

And looking further back, since a 4-2 success at Stevenage on New Year’s Eve, the U’s have managed just one win in 13 away games.

That is simply not good enough, a fact recognised by McGreal, who hopes that his poor travellers can stop the rot with a three-point haul at Cheltenham this weekend.

“We just need to try and get that first win away from home,” insisted McGreal.

“We’ve tried to mix things up a little bit. We’ve looked at different stats and we’ve looked at different ways to prep, and also the travelling arrangements,

“Our home form has been very good, but our away form we’ve got to improve.

“It hasn’t been up to standard as such this season. A couple of performances have been OK, but we don’t want any hard luck stories – we just need to put in a good performance and try to get a win.

“I think we’ve started the previous three away games pretty well really. You look at Accrington where we had two really good early chances to score, before they’ve scored.

“Luton was very similar, and at Cambridge the other week we should be scoring a couple of goals early in the game, which we didn’t do. So it’s not so much needing to get a faster start, it’s just about those key moments.

“We tend to take our chances when we are at home, but not away. Hopefully we can put that right on Saturday.

“Speaking to (Chesterfield manager) Gary (Caldwell) after the match, he was saying that, having dropped down to this level (relegated last season), teams do get opportunities. It’s just whether they take them or not,

“Even going into the 80th minute the other night, we still kept working to the end to get that equaliser,” added McGreal, with reference to Tuesday night’s 1-1 home draw against the Spireites.

Tomorrow’s hosts, Cheltenham, are currently third from bottom, with just one league win from seven starts, a 1-0 victory over Crawley in their first home match of the campaign.

“It would be great if we could finish a good week on a positive note,” continued McGreal, whose side beat Crawley 3-1 last Saturday. “We’d obviously have liked the six points out of six, but we’ll take what’s next best, which is the four points.

“The boys have been in a good place, although we know it’s going to be a tough test this weekend.

“We are expecting quite a physical approach from Cheltenham, although they do like to mix it up.

“It will be a good test, given the way our away form has been of late, so we will have to be on our mettle to get the three points.”

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