Home comforts are the key for Colchester United

Kurtis Guthrie prepares to slot home one of his three goals in the U's last home outing, a 4-1 win o

Kurtis Guthrie prepares to slot home one of his three goals in the U's last home outing, a 4-1 win over Carlisle - Credit: Archant

Home form will ultimately decide whether Colchester United reach the end-of-season play-offs, for the first time in 19 years.

The U’s are currently seventh in League Two, although they could drop to as low as 11th by Saturday night, depending on results elsewhere.

John McGreal’s men have a free weekend, with scheduled visitors Wycombe Wanderers in FA Cup action against Tottenham.

Looking ahead, the U’s have the luxury of welcoming five of the top six clubs to the Weston Homes Community Stadium during the final three months of the campaign.

In fact, only third-placed Carlisle, beaten 4-1 by the U’s in the Essex club’s last home outing, have visited the U’s among the top eight clubs.

Perform well against these top teams, and the U’s will almost certainly be in the play-off mix in May.

And the signs are encouraging – the U’s have only lost three home games all season, and only Doncaster and Carlisle have scored more goals (25) on home turf this term.

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The U’s next home match, after Saturday week’s trip to Blackpool, had been due to be against fifth-placed Wycombe, but that fixture was postponed yesterday, due to the Chairboys’ EFL Checkatrade Trophy commitments.

Barnet, in eighth, will be at the Community Stadium on April 11, while fourth-placed Portsmouth and sixth-placed Luton will visit in March.

April will provide some stiff competition, with the top two of Doncaster and Plymouth arriving within six days of each other, on April 14 and April 22 respectively.

An indifferent home record has certainly held back the U’s in recent seasons, culminating in relegation last term when they mustered just four home wins all campaign.

But now they are on course to celebrate their best home statistics since the days of John Ward, back in 2010-11, when the club registered 12 home wins and lost just four at the Community Stadium on their way to 10th spot in League One.

Since then, the U’s have won just eight home games in three successive seasons (in 2011-12, 2012-13 and 2013-14), and seven in 2014-15, before last season’s disastrous campaign.

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