Colchester United are ‘favourites’ – admits Tom Eastman
- Credit: Richard Blaxall
Tom Eastman admits that Colchester United will be favourites, going into their two festive home games against Stevenage and Crewe.
An in form Eastman, who helped to keep a clean-sheet in the U’s impressive 2-0 win at Oldham on Saturday, will be looking to shut out Stevenage on Boxing Day and then Crewe on Sunday.
Both Borough and the Railwaymen are currently in the relegation zone, five and six points adrift of the U’s respectively.
Eastman is fully aware that the U’s flopped in their last home match, against then-basement club Notts County, but the Essex club put that 4-0 drubbing to bed with a fine away display at Boundary Park.
“It was a fantastic turnaround from last week,” enthused Eastman.
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“Obviously we were very poor last weekend, but the onus was on us to rectify it, and I think we definitely did that.
“We don’t have much time to recover, but we will take what we did at Oldham into Boxing Day.
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“If we don’t, this win will count for nothing. We’ve got to make sure we are at it again, against Stevenage.
“It’s very tight in the league, especially at the bottom. It’s a very competitive league.
“The next two games, both at home, are a big chance for us, and I suppose we will be favourites for both,” added Eastman.
Now fully recovered from an ankle injury, that kept him out of action for eight weeks, Eastman has rekindled his partnership with fellow centre-half Magnus Okuonghae.
Both were outstanding at Oldham, to clinch a first away win since the opening day success at Gillingham.
But equally, both were well below their best during the U’s last home game, the nightmare against the Magpies.
“We had a good talk about the previous game, last week,” continued Eastman.
“But that’s football. There are loads of games to come. It’s never the end of the world, losing one game, but when you do, you have to respond, which is what we did at Oldham.
“To a man, I thought we played very well, especially in the first half. We got two goals up and then held on in the second half.
“The clean-sheet away from home was good as well. We’re very chuffed, having not won the previous two games. We are now looking for the same attitude and the same performance, especially from that first half.
“If we do that, then I’m pretty confident we can get a result on Boxing Day.”
Eastman was sporting a black eye, after his gutsy performance at Oldham – the result of one of his aerial battles, most of which he won.
Meanwhile, the U’s comfortable two-goal lead meant that Sanchez Watt, back in the squad after nearly four months on the sidelines with a quad injury, was not required as an impact substitute off the bench.
It gives the former Arsenal winger a few more days to train, and build up his strength, ahead of the Boxing Day visit of Stevenage.
Eastman added: “It’s great having Sanchez (Watt) back on the bus, and back in the squad. Hopefully he will keep training well and get back into the team.”