COLCHESTER United will hope lightning strikes twice when they visit Preston North End on the opening day of the League One season, for the second successive year, on August 18.

The U’s travelled to Lancashire on August 6 last year and won 4-2 courtesy of goals from Ian Henderson (2), Anthony Wordsworth and Kayode Odejayi.

The visit to Deepdale represents a tough start to the campaign for John Ward’s men who follow the game with Graham Westley’s men with two mouth-watering home games.

First up, relegated Portsmouth visit the Weston Homes Community Stadium on August 21, before this season’s play-off final runners-up Sheffield United visit Essex on August 25.

The U’s entertain Brentford on Boxing Day before travelling to newly-promoted Crawley Town on New Year’s Day.

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Colchester will be looking to improve on a tenth-placed finish last time around and finish the season off with potentially crunch games at home to Shrewsbury on April 20, before the final encounter of the season at Carlisle on April 27.

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