Colchester United’s Matt Briggs thought he was ‘down-and-out’ this season

Matt Briggs, on the ball during his first appearance of the season at Blackpool in February, believe

Matt Briggs, on the ball during his first appearance of the season at Blackpool in February, believes the U's deserve to finish in the play-offs. Picture: RICHARD BLAXALL - Credit: Richard Blaxall / Colchester Uni

Colchester United’s left-sided specialist, Matt Briggs, is one of six survivors from the U’s great escape of two years ago.

Briggs played the full 90 minutes in that historic final day 1-0 win over promotion-chasing Preston North End, which secured an unlikely escape from the clutches of relegation to League Two.

Current day team-mates Sam Walker, Richard Brindley, Tom Eastman and Chris Porter also played the full 90 minutes that day, while Alex Wynter came on as a late replacement – the duo of Macauley Bonne and Tom Lapslie were unused substitutes.

Once again, the U’s have everything to play for on the final day of a regular season, when Yeovil visit this afternoon (5.30).

But instead of trying to fend off relegation, John McGreal’s men are attempting to gate-crash the League Two play-offs.

That means beating the Glovers, and then hoping that results elsewhere are favourable.

In short, there are seven teams vying for the remaining two play-off places up for grabs, and the U’s are currently one point and three places off the top-seven.

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The odds are stacked against them, but then not many people gave the U’s much of a chance two years ago!

Briggs will be keeping a cool head, as will the rest of his team-mates, in front of a crowd expected to exceed 6,000.

“We have to keep our heads, and stay focused,” insisted Briggs.

“This week has been no different to other weeks, we’ve prepared for the game in just the same way.

“I think we deserve to get into the play-offs, because of all the injuries that we have had during the season. We’ve stayed resilient, and we have always bounced back from disappointments.

“Of course I remember that Preston game well. I didn’t feel the pressure that day, being on the pitch. I just had to play my game.

“Relief was the over-riding emotion, and happiness. We could tell from the fans’ reaction that we had done it, and that other results had gone our way. I hope it happens again this weekend.”

Ex-Millwall 26-year-old Briggs did not make his first appearance of the season until February, due to a string of injuries.

“There were times this season when I thought I was down-and-out, and that I would never get back,” confessed Briggs. “But I’ve kept myself fit, and now I’ve got my chance to show what I can do.”

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