Colchester United manager John McGreal backs goalkeeper Sam Walker, ahead of trip to League Two leaders Plymouth Argyle

Sam Walker

Sam Walker - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

John McGreal has praised goalkeeper Sam Walker’s reaction to potentially costing Colchester United three valuable points at home to Morecambe last Saturday.

The U’s looked to be on their way to a crucial win against the Shrimps until Walker fumbled Lee Molyneux’s cross into the goal with 13 minutes to go.

Despite that, Walker has his manager’s full backing and will be the U’s last line of defence at table-topping Plymouth Argyle tomorrow, as they look to stop a run of seven games without a win.

Walker will have to be at his best, as will the rest of his team-mates if they are to get anything from Home Park – the Pilgrims having taken 32 points from a possible last 36 available.

“He (Walker) is a credit to himself really,” said McGreal.

“He came in after the game against Morecambe and knew he had made a mistake – the two Sams (Walker and Szmodics) made the mistakes for their goals if you like.

“Obviously I have had to give them a bit of support. I have been in their position when I was a player when I have needed support from my manager, team-mates and the staff and the pleasing thing with Sam is that he’s absolutely fine.

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“We had a good long chat on Tuesday and he is here to put things in place for himself and the club,

“We don’t want to put too much pressure on the players, but there is pressure on them and they are looking to take that on board, especially Sam.”

McGreal is adamant things are on the right track at Colchester and believes individual rather than collective mistakes are mainly the reason for their current winless run.

“I am learning as I go along as a manager, but as a player I have been through dips like this before,” he added.

“We have got to keep creating chances. We have tightened up at the back, apart from individual mistakes, and when we do get that win we have got a team capable of going on a run, and players injured who will come back and strengthen the team.

“The boys have taken the last seven games on the chin, they have kept positive, and we hope our run of results will change.”

Few will expect the U’s to get anything from their long trip to Devon, Argyle being 12 unbeaten, and the confidence running through the Pilgrims’ team is showing, according to striker Jordan Slew.

“There’s a great togetherness in the team,” he said.

“It’s the confidence that makes a difference.

“Like against Newport they were down to 10 men, they equalised and in that situation most teams drop to make it hard for you but we just kept doing our thing.

“I think everybody knew we were going to score again; and that’s the confidence we have as a team.”

The U’s have no new injuries, following last weekend’s draw with Morecambe, but they are still without long-term absentees Doug Loft, Owen Garvan, Brennan Dickenson, Tom Lapslie and Lewis Kinsella.

Despite that, McGreal is confident of getting a positive result, saying: “Look at us at Doncaster, we nearly caught them cold.

“We can win games and we have been so close of late, so hopefully that will come (at Plymouth).”