Colchester United midfielder Owen Garvan’s warning

Owen Garvan

Owen Garvan - Credit: Richard Blaxall/Focus Images Ltd

Owen Garvan has warned against getting too carried away with Colchester United’s successes in the FA Cup.

The experienced midfielder believes that the U’s superb 2-1 win over Championship side Charlton in the third round of the FA Cup last Saturday, and the subsequent fourth round home draw against either Tottenham or Leicester, will count for little, if they fail to carry on that winning habit in the league.

There has certainly been a stark contrast between the U’s fortunes in the Cup and league over the last three months.

While the Essex club have beaten Wealdstone (6-2 away), Altrincham (3-2) and Charlton in the Cup, to reach the fourth round for the first tie in 10 years, they have suffered badly in League One.

Their last league outing, a 1-1 draw at Oldham, ended a nightmarish run of nine league defeats on the bounce, and in fact they have only accumulated five points from a possible 45 in their last 15 fixtures.

That’s why Garvan is not getting over-excited by the U’s Cup exploits.

“We still have to concentrate on the league,” insisted Garvan.

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“It’s no good winning in the Cup and then failing to win either of our next couple of games.

“I believe that we’ve got to pick up a lot of our points, here at home (Weston Homes Community Stadium), and make it a fortress.

“We have a lot of games coming up, against teams in and around us.”

The U’s entertain Sheffield United this Saturday, and then Fleetwood Town next Tuesday, before travelling to Scunthorpe on Saturday week.

Kevin Keen’s men are currently five points adrift of safety and with a very poor goal difference. Going into their last 21 fixtures of the season, they have no time to waste if they want to retain their League One status for a ninth season.

Garvan himself started his first game for 10 weeks, following injury, in the 2-1 win over Charlton, having come on as a half-time substitute at Oldham the previous weekend.

The ex-Ipswich Town and Crystal Palace star is a key player for the U’s, operating in central midfield in the team’s new-look 4-4-2 formation.

“It was good to be back playing again,” continued Garvan.

“I felt quite fit actually. I played 45 minutes the previous week, and my energy levels were very good despite being out for quite a while. So I’m happy with that.

“We have changed to a 4-4-2 formation over the last few weeks, having worked with a different system (4-2-1-3) under our old manager (Tony Humes).

“A lot of 4-4-2 is about shape, and you can see that we’ve been trying to get the balance of defending well and trying to keep clean-sheets, while still being a threat at the other end.

“But it doesn’t really matter what system you play, as long as the players put in the effort.

“We took our chances against Charlton, and it was a good team performance.

“Charlton are in a bad place as well, at the moment. They have not won many games in recent months, and their fans were restless.

“They hadn’t had to play in the first couple of rounds, so they came into this competition cold, while we had put a lot of effort into getting this far, and it showed how much it meant to us. That’s three good Cup wins for us now,” added Garvan.

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