'We will not be overwhelmed' - insists U's Dickenson
PUBLISHED: 06:00 03 May 2019
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Brennan Dickenson insists that he and his Colchester United team-mates will not be "overwhelmed" by the big occasion when they U's take on champions Lincoln City in a final-day showdown at Sincil Bank tomorrow.
Brennan Dickenson insists that he and his Colchester United team-mates will not be “overwhelmed” by the big occasion when they U's take on champions Lincoln City in a final-day showdown at Sincil Bank tomorrow.
There will be a party atmosphere among a capacity crowd, with home fans ready to celebrate the Imps' League Two title and promotion to the third tier.
But the U's must blot out all those off-the-pitch celebrations and concentrate on the matter in hand – beating Lincoln to complete a notable league double and so give themselves a chance of snatching the last play-off place.
The odds are stacked against the Essex visitors gate-crashing the play-off zone on the final weekend.
And that's not because they have little chance of beating champions Lincoln – they managed just that with a 1-0 home success over Danny Cowley's men at the end of October.
Rather, it's because the U's also have to rely on an improbable set of results, with seventh-placed Newport County losing at Morecambe, eight-placed Exeter City losing at Forest Green Rovers (or perhaps drawing, depending on how many goals the U's can beat Lincoln by), and Stevenage not thrashing Cheltenham by a big margin.
“It's a must-win game for us, obviously,” explained Dickenson, who is to operate as a left-back tomorrow.
“But we will not be overwhelmed by the occasion. We have just got to do our best, and that means focusing on ourselves and not worrying about other results.
“We have just been going from game-to-game, regardless of the magnitude of each match, and we have done well with that approach over the last three weeks,” added Dickenson.
The U's have taken seven points from their last three outings, with home wins over Grimsby (1-0) and MK Dons (2-0) sandwiching a 1-1 draw at Yeovil Town.
By contrast, champions Lincoln have struggled for form of late, and have not won in their last four matches.
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“It's exciting,” continued Dickenson. “We are all looking forward to this weekend.
“I haven't had that much experience of exciting final days. It went down to the last game on my first season here, though I was injured at the time, while last season we finished a few points behind.
“Now we want to put in a good performance, as a team, and embrace the pressure. I think it helps that we have clarity about what we have to do – a draw will not be enough, we must win the game.
“I've been in and out of team this season, and haven't played as much as I would have liked, so it's been difficult to get my form going and get any momentum going when I'm coming on as a substitute.
“But I've started the last three games, which should really help me.”
Kane Vincent-Young's abdominal injury, which caused him to miss the last two games, has seen Dickenson deputising at left-back, rather than playing in a more attacking role as a left winger.
“I'm just happy to be playing,” said Dickenson.
“I'm glad that the gaffer (McGreal) has put trust in me to play at left-back, and I feel that I have played pretty well there.
“Whenever I have been called upon, I think I have done quite well, and at left-back I have to combine my attacking and defensive roles.
“Playing that bit deeper gives me more space, and more view looking forward, while on the wing I am sometimes more isolated.
“Frankie Kent (centre-half) has helped me on the right side, because he's used to that position.
“I did play as a left-back during my second season at (previous club) Gillingham, but otherwise I have mostly played as a winger.
“As a team, we are full of confidence. We have been playing well recently, we are unbeaten in three matches, and we're looking forward to what is a big game.
“I think we will rise to the occasion. There will be a big crowd, with Lincoln having already won promotion, but I think we can feed off that energy and work it to our advantage,” added Dickenson.