Glowing report of Dunne’s first three weeks at the helm

YESTERDAY was three weeks, to the day, that Joe Dunne was officially appointed the new full-time manager of his beloved Colchester United. And what a three weeks!

Before Dunne took charge, following John Ward’s dismissal, the U’s had not won a game all season, a miserable run stretching to nine games.

In fact, the U’s had only tasted victory in one of their last 22 games, stretching back to early March of last term.

But the transformation, during the early days of Dunne’s tenure, has been amazing, boosted by the arrival of three new loan players on the same day as his appointment – Jabo Ibehre, Sanchez Watt and Craig Eastmond.

The U’s have won three of their first four league games under Dunne, with home successes over Hartlepool and Stevenage sandwiching a 1-0 win at Swindon.

Instead of wallowing in the bottom four, hampered by a lack of self-belief and with goals at a premium, the new-look U’s are brimming with confidence, scoring regularly and on the rise. They are up to 18th in the table, and looking to continue the winning trend at home to Carlisle tomorrow.

So what are the reasons for this quickfire change in fortunes?

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More often than not, of course, there is a honeymoon period in the wake of a new manager’s arrival. That has clearly been a factor. But Dunne has also stamped his own personality on the team.

The formation is more attacking, with a three-pronged front-line – Dunne has himself confirmed that the best form of defence is often to attack.

New recruits Ibehre and Watt have weighed in with four goals between them, and the U’s have scored in each of their first five games under Dunne, including the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy exit at Northampton.

Central midfielder Eastmond, the third of the new arrivals, has perhaps had the biggest impact of all. The Arsenal loanee has helped Dunne to adopt his slicker style of play, in terms of passing from the back, while also offering the defence some protection.

There have been mistakes, and there will be many more, but the U’s, under Dunne, are on the right track.

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