‘We can’t treat Crewe too lightly’ – Colchester United boss John McGreal

That winning feeling: Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe (second left) is congratulated by team-mates Mikael Mandro

That winning feeling: Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe (second left) is congratulated by team-mates Mikael Mandron, Courtney Senior and Brandon Comley, after giving the U's a 1-0 lead from the penalty spot in a 2-1 win over Coventry on Tuesday evening. Picture: STEVE WALLER - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Colchester United boss, John McGreal, has warned his players to be on their guard at struggling Crewe Alexandra this afternoon.

The U’s have lost just three of their last 20 league matches, to sit just three points adrift of the League Two play-off zone going into their final 13 fixtures of the regular season.

By contrast, today’s hosts Crewe have nose-dived to third-from-bottom, on the back of a miserable run of just one point gained in their last six matches, with five defeats a solitary draw.

The second half of February represents a terrific opportunity for the U’s to step up their challenge for promotion, because they follow up today’s trip to Cheshire with a home match against basement dwellers Barnet next weekend.

But McGreal knows that any complacency, against these relegation-threatened teams, could spell disaster for his own side.

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“Crewe are fighting for their lives at this moment in time,” warned McGreal.

“They need a win to claw themselves away from it.

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“They have a similar philosophy to ourselves, bringing youth through the system.

- Brennan Dickenson interview

“I always bang a drum for my (hone-grown) boys, having been at the club for a number of years myself, and Crewe are the same. It’s just unfortunate they have not got the results in what is a tough, tough league.

“We will still show them all the respect, because they have a great philosophy and we don’t want to start a run of wins for them.

“We have only had three defeats in 20 matches, so the boys have been putting in the shifts, albeit with too many draws, although they have kept the points ticking over.

“The boys are performing well at the moment, but we can’t take our foot off the gas.

“We can’t treat Crewe too lightly,” added McGreal.

Mikael Mandron nodded home an 88th minute winner against Coventry City on Tuesday night, from full debutant Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe’s cross.

“That was a timely boost, to be fair,” explained McGreal.

“We were heading for a hard-fought draw, but luckily Mikael popped up with a late winner.

“They are goals we haven’t tended to score this season. Hopefully we can score some more late goals, or preferably win by at least two goals.”

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