Colchester United looking to make up some lost ground, on home turf, at long last!

Kurtis Guthrie prepares to crash home one of his hat-trick goals in Colchester United's last home ma

Kurtis Guthrie prepares to crash home one of his hat-trick goals in Colchester United's last home match, against Carlisle from five weeks ago - Credit: Archant

Colchester United, after a five-week absence, finally return to the Weston Homes Community Stadium to host a home game this weekend.

And with four of the U’s next five games being on home turf, as John McGreal’s men play catch-up, this is a crucial period for the Essex club.

In fact those four quickfire home games – against Barnet (tomorrow), Crawley (next Tuesday), Wycombe and Hartlepool – could ultimately decide whether the U’s are involved in the end-of-season play-offs.

A run of three games on the road yielded just two points, with a goalless draw at Newport County and a 1-1 draw at Blackpool last weekend, sandwiching a 3-0 defeat at Exeter.

There was also a blank weekend, due to Wycombe’s involvement in the FA Cup.

As a result of their lack of home games, and their failure to win a match since the thumping 4-1 win over Carlisle in their last home outing, on January 7, McGreal’s side have slid out of the top seven, and are now four points adrift of the play-offs.

That’s why February is such a crunch month.

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“It will be great to be back at home again. We’re looking forward to it,” enthused manager McGreal.

“We have held onto that element of being a tough team to beat, even though we haven’t won games recently. Now we have four of our next five games at home.

“It’s a very important period for us, and after this run of games it should tell us where we are going, for the rest of the season.

“It’s down to us, to make our home advantage count.

“We’ve done all the travelling recently, and picked up a few good points, but there’s no point in doing that if you then get nothing from your home games.

“It’s up to us to make it work,” added McGreal.

On tomorrow’s visitors Barnet, McGreal said: “They (interim bosses Rossi Eames and Henry Newman in charge) have managed to keep the club moving forward.

“Barnet have changed a bit since we played them at their place, but big John Akinde is still scoring the goals (19 this season).

“People tend to focus on him, but there’s more to Barnet than just Akinde, and they have spent some money during the transfer window as well.”