Mandron insists all the pressure is on leaders Accrington Stanley
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Colchester United’s centre-forward, Mikael Mandron, insists that all the pressure will be on Accrington Stanley, when the League Two leaders visit the Weston Homes Community Stadium tomorrow.
The U’s are still four points adrift of the play-offs, going into their last five fixtures of the season, despite winning their last three games.
And five of the six teams immediately above the 10th-placed U’s also have a game in hand, so a top-seven finish looks a very big ask for John McGreal’s men.
Mandron agrees, which is why he considers that Accrington have more to lose than the U’s this weekend, even though in-form Stanley have won their last six games on the bounce, and are 11 points clear of fourth-placed Exeter.
“We want to do as well as we can for the rest of the season,” explained Mandron, following yesterday’s training session at Florence Park, Tiptree.
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“The pressure came off us, a few weeks ago, following our winless run (five matches between mid-February and mid-March), and we have managed to play a lot of better since the pressure has been off.
“I believe that all the pressure is on Accrington Stanley, not on us.
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“I think the Community Stadium can be a very difficult place to come for other teams.
“The fans tend to get behind us, as they did against (then-leaders) Luton Town, which helps us, and they have also been supporting us away from home, like at Forest Green Rovers (340 away fans),” added Mandron.
Goals from Drey Wright and Ben Stevenson secured a 2-1 win at Forest Green on Easter Monday, following on from the 2-1 home success over Luton on Good Friday, and the previous Saturday’s 1-0 win at Stevenage, when Mandron grabbed the only goal of the game.
Mandron’s effort at Broadhall Way was his 10th of the season, so it’s no wonder that the 23-year-old Frenchman is enjoying his football in what is his first season at Colchester.
“I’m feeling great at the moment,” confirmed Mandron, who was recruited from Wigan Athletic last summer.
“We have managed to build up a lot of confidence over the last four games, and we all ready for the challenges that lie ahead.
“We usually do well against the top teams, so we will see what happens this weekend. We tend to raise our game.
“We had a bad run of results before, against some of the lower teams, but that happens sometimes during a season. It’s all about how we bounce back, and we have generally done that quite well this season.
“We are now unbeaten in four matches, and have won our last three, so we are all brimming with confidence.”
As regards the U’s last two matches, during which Mandron has failed to add to his goal-tally, he insisted: “It’s nice that other players are chipping in with the goals, from other areas of the pitch.
“As a striker, I always want to be scoring the goals, but it’s good for the team as a whole for goals to be coming from elsewhere on the pitch as well.
“The centre-backs (Tom Eastman and Luke Prosser) scored the other week, against Luton, and it was good for Drey Wright, as a winger, to get the early goal at Forest Green.
“On a personal note, it feels good to have got to 10 goals for the season, but I don’t reflect too much on it.
“I just keep working, and trying to get more goals for the team.
“I’m still three goals behind Sammie Szmodics (13 goals), but there’s not really any rivalry between us to see who finishes as the top scorer.
“Sammie and I work well together in training, and on the pitch on match-day.
“It’s all about scoring for the team.
“The play-offs are still a bit distant, and we are not really talking about them, but we have our own targets that we want to achieve.
“This weekend should be more than ever a challenge, playing against the league leaders. That drives us on, playing against Accrington Stanley.
“I’ve been at several clubs in my career, but this is the best I have felt.
“It’s better to be playing and pushing for the play-offs, than to be near the bottom of the table.”
Before signing for the U’s, on a two-year deal for an undisclosed fee, Mandron had been on the books of Sunderland, Eastleigh and Wigan, as well as having had short loan stints at Fleetwood, Shrewsbury and Hartlepool.
He has only missed two league games this season, and has bagged 10 goals in 39 league appearances.