Colchester United preparing to soar into top three

Colchester United boss, John McGreal, looking for more good cheer against Cheltenham this weekend. P

Colchester United boss, John McGreal, looking for more good cheer against Cheltenham this weekend. Picture: PAGEPIX - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

Colchester United have their sights set on the top three, going into tomorrow afternoon’s home match against Cheltenham Town.

The U’s are currently one point and one place outside the top seven, following a superb run of just two defeats in 17 matches.

But they will burst into the top three automatic promotion slots, if they manage to beat the Robins by a two-goal margin tomorrow.

Boss John McGreal is playing down his side’s promotion prospects, but with all the teams above them not playing in the league this weekend, due to FA Cup fixtures, they have a golden chance to steal a march on their main rivals.

“Of course it would be fantastic if we could get into the top three,” explained McGreal.

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“There are three more points up for grabs for us this weekend, but it’s important to remember that there are still 20 games to go this season.

“The top two have been pulling away, especially leaders Luton, but otherwise it is all very tight and I am sure that it will go down to the wire again, just like last season.

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“There are a lot of teams still involved, down to 13th or 14th, but this weekend is a good game for us, with a lot of the others in FA Cup action instead,” added McGreal.

While the U’s terrific run of results is well known, since they secured a point in a 2-2 draw at Grimsby in late September, less well publicised is the impressive number of clean-sheets secured.

In fact, keeper Sam Walker, together with the back-four or back-five ahead of him, has masterminded nine clean-sheets in the last 16 league fixtures.

“That’s given us a good platform, all those clean-sheets. The defence and the whole team can take credit for that, but let’s not forget big Sam (Walker), who is the voice behind the back three or four,” enthused McGreal.

Tomorrow’s visitors, Cheltenham, were soundly beaten 4-1 at Stevenage on New Year’s Day, but they have recorded some good results in recent weeks and are always likely to find the net on their travels. Gary Johnson’s men have scored in their last 10 away fixtures in all competitions, no mean feat.

The pick of those results on the road have been a 2-0 win at Chesterfield and draws at high-flying Wycombe (3-3) and Accrington (1-1). Mohamed Eisa is their main danger-man with 12 goals this term.

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