U’s defender Jackson on Bury clash: ‘It’s a big one’
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Colchester United’s defensive stalwart, Ryan Jackson, is not under-estimating the importance of this weekend’s big test at fourth-placed Bury.
The play-off chasing U’s are currently two points and two places adrift of the top seven, a gap that has kept the same thanks to seventh-placed Exeter City’s surprise 3-2 defeat at relegation-plagued Macclesfield Town in midweek.
On the face of it, tomorrow’s challenge at Gigg Lane is a big one, against a Shakers side who have been in the automatic promotion race for most of this season.
However, all is not well at the Greater Manchester club – they have lost their last three fixtures, while off the pitch they are blighted by financial problems.
Jackson, naturally, is concentrating on the match ahead, rather than any financial worries that Bury may have, including the unpaid wages owed to their players.
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“It’s a big one,” insisted Jackson, following yesterday’s training session at Florence Park Tiptree.
“We are going for the three points, and we are also aiming for a clean-sheet.
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“Despite last weekend (2-0 home defeat by Oldham Athletic), everyone remains very positive. We still all believe that we can make the play-offs.
“We know that we have good players, and we known that we area good team. Sure, we were a little disheartened after the Oldham defeat, but we are looking forward, not looking back.
“The main problem at the moment is that the goals have not been going in, at the other end of the pitch, but we all work hand-in-hand, defenders as well midfielders and strikers.
“Everyone goes through a tough patch, and we want to just grind out a couple of 1-0s and keep some clean-sheets.
“Bury were a very solid team, when we played them at home (2-1 defeat at the end of September). They have a lot of players who came down from the league above, but this weekend is now about them, it is about us.
“Their off-the-pitch issues are not a concern for us. If anything, it’s a bonus for us that they might have that distraction.
“There’s four games to go after that, but we cannot look any further ahead than Bury this weekend. I believe it’s still very much in our hands,” added Jackson.
London-born Jackson, who began his career at AFC Wimbledon, is fast approaching the 100-game landmark for the U’s.
The 28-year-old has been ever-present this season, and in fact has started every game - this weekend will be his 90th league and cup game for the Essex club, since his switch from Gillingham during the summer of 2017.
“I’m pleased with my form, and the way I have been playing,” explained Jackson.
“I think that I’ve been pretty consistent. I have started every game, and obviously I’d like to extend that record for the rest of the season.
“I feel very strong. I’m not feeling tired, and I want to keep on performing and to help the team get into the play-offs. I think this has been the most consistent season of my career, I certainly haven’t played as many games as I have done this year,” added Jackson.
The experienced Jackson, who turns 29 in July, has been on the books of AFC Wimbledon, Macclesfield, Newport and Gillingham, although he has never had first first-hand experience of the play-offs – he is hoping that changes at the end of this season.
“I was at AFC Wimbledon when the club won promotion to the Football League (in 2010-11), but I was not in the side,” explained Jackson.
“However, I was in-and-around it, so I know what the feeling is like.
“I’d like to experience that with Colchester,” added Jackson.