Colchester United v Exeter City: big-match preview

Sanmi Odelusi, celebrating his first goal for Colchester United at Notts County two weeks ago. He wi

Sanmi Odelusi, celebrating his first goal for Colchester United at Notts County two weeks ago. He will not be offered a new contract by the U's. Picture: RICHARD BLAXALL - Credit: Richard Blaxall / Pagepix

After a fortnight’s break, Colchester United are itching to get back into League Two action with another good home showing this afternoon, against high-flying Exeter City.

Despite a defeat in their last outing, a last-gasp 2-1 reverse at joint leaders Notts County, the U’s are in good shape and within striking distance (just three points) of the play-off zone.

John McGreal’s men have only lost two of their 10 league games at the Weston Homes Community Stadium, at the hands of Wycombe and Carlisle, and their last home game produced a hard-earned 1-0 win over Lincoln City, thanks to Sammie Szmodics’ seventh goal of the season.

Exeter are no mugs themselves, and are well-placed in fourth spot with just three defeats in 10 away league games, but the U’s will be confident of reducing the gap between themselves and their Devon visitors this afternoon.

“We want to continue the fine home form that we have had this season,” explained McGreal.

“We are on a good run of form. The lads have performed particularly well, and we took a lot out of the last game (at Notts County), despite the defeat.

“Now we want to continue that, with the good work we already have behind us. We have had a break, which has allowed the players to become fresher. There’s been a lot of recovery.

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“But we know we will be in for a tough game, because we’ve watched Exeter a couple of times. They are a good team. They have been up and around it this season, and I’m sure they will be there at the end of the season.

“They’ve added to their squad, and brought in a couple of players despite a few others moving on from last season.

“Paul (Tisdale) has been particularly kind to me and (assistant) Steve (Ball) over the last 18 months with little bits of advice. He’s such an experienced manager, and has done a tremendous job down there.

“Exeter are also regenerating their stadium. They have knocked down two sides, so there is investment going into the club, and they have a new 4G pitch as well to help out their training.

“But we feel we are in a strong position as well,” added McGreal.

The U’s have lost just two of their last 11 games, propelling them from a struggling 21st place up to 11th in the table, and it will be no surprise if McGreal names an unchanged side this afternoon.

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