‘We have put ourselves in a strong position’ – Colchester United’s John McGreal

Mikael Mandron heads home Kyel Reid's free-kick to put the U's 2-1 up at Swindon in the Essex club's

Mikael Mandron heads home Kyel Reid's free-kick to put the U's 2-1 up at Swindon in the Essex club's last outing. Picture: PAGEPIX - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

Colchester United are likely to grace the League Two play-off places over Christmas, if they can carry on their fine recent form at the expense of visiting Port Vale this afternoon.

John McGreal’s men were in the top seven for the first time this season, for a brief few hours last weekend, following an excellent 3-2 win at high-flying rivals Swindon Town last Friday night.

The following day’s set of results saw them drop out of the play-offs, but only on goal difference.

And although boss McGreal is reluctant to talk about play-off bids and possible promotion, these are words on the lips of every Colchester fan.

And you can’t blame U’s supporters for dreaming of a promotion push – their side have only lost twice in their last 13 league fixtures.

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“It’s very fine margins in this division,” insisted McGreal.

“Port Vale were out of it a few weeks ago, but they’ve since pulled out of the relegation zone.

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“We are expecting a very different test to our previous one at Swindon. It’s a big game for us this weekend, and a great chance for us to carry on our momentum.

- Mikael Mandron is brimming with confidence

“The players might sometimes mention promotion, but they’re getting a little carried away, because we only reach the half-way mark this weekend.

“However, I will say that we have put ourselves in a strong position, and the players are feeling very confident. They are creating a very positive environment,” added McGreal.

In terms of team news for this afternoon, Doug Loft (sore shoulder) and Luke Prosser (knee) remain sidelined, while Ryan Inniss is unlikely to be risked after his recent shoulder injury.

Sanmi Odelusi will not have his contract renewed, when his current deal expires on December 31, but the 24-year-old attacker is expected to be in today’s squad, on the back of some impressive recent substitute outings.


COLCHESTER: Walker, Jackson, Eastman, Kent, Vincent-Young, Comley, Lapslie, Reid, Wright, Mandron, Szmodics, James, Odelusi, Murray, Slater, Kinsella, Kpekawa, Hanlan, Guthrie, Inniss & Gilmartin.

PORT VALE: Boot, Smith, Anderson, Gunning, Pugh, Tonge, Kay, Worrall, Whitfield, Myers-Harness, Pope, Barnett, Denton, Forrester, Reeves, Turner, Kelly, Davis & Lainton.

Referee: Nicholas Kinseley (Essex)

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