“I believe we are good enough” – Colchester United boss Tony Humes

Tony Humes

Tony Humes - Credit: Richard Blaxall/Focus Images Ltd

Colchester United need to win six of their remaining dozen fixtures to effectively guarantee their League One safety this season.

That’s a tall order, especially when you consider that the U’s have only won nine games all campaign, and only four on home soil.

A total of 52 points is usually the benchmark that teams target to be safe from the threat of relegation.

Tony Humes’ men are still 18 points short of this goal, so it’s a daunting prospect that lies ahead, especially on the back of such a disappointing display in Tuesday night’s dismal 1-0 home defeat to fellow strugglers Notts County.

Even so, Humes does not believe that his team are “favourites” to go down.

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“I don’t think you can say we are favourites to go down,” he said.

“I don’t think you can think like that. You’ve got to be positive in everything you do.

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“Every day we get the players working and they go out and make themselves better as individuals and as a team.

“There’s a lot of young players out there who will ultimately be better for the experience, win, lose or draw. But it’s about doing it on the day.

“I believe that these players are good enough to keep us in League One. They have shown it on so many occasions this season that they are.

“Whether it was a lack of confidence or a lack of belief on Tuesday night, I don’t know. But they certainly are good enough, and they now have to show it.”

A diving header by Paddy McCourt, from ex-U’s loanee Jamal Campbell-Ryce’s teasing cross on 68 minutes, was enough to propel Notts County a healthy seven points clear of third-from-bottom Colchester on Tuesday evening.

The Magpies had lost six of their previous seven games, and so were stuck in a rut, but they fully deserved their win at the Community Stadium.

The only light at the end of the tunnel for Humes, his players and U’s supporters, was that results elsewhere were all kind to the Essex club.

The two clubs below them, Yeovil and Crawley, both lost, as did the clubs immediately above them, Leyton Orient, Coventry and Crewe.

So the U’s remain just two points adrift of safety, although both Coventry and Leyton Orient have a game in hand.

Humes continued: “This game has gone now. We have had the inquest, and we will continue to look at and see what we could do better.

“We have to stick together, obviously, and nothing is impossible until it’s done.”

The U’s have now lost 11 of their 17 home fixtures this campaign, a woeful record, but they hit the road this weekend with a trip to Rochdale tomorrow.

Playing away from the Community Stadium might seem an advantage for the U’s, but Dale will be on the crest of a wave after hammering Crewe 4-0 at Spotland on Tuesday night.

Midfielder Tom Lapslie will again miss out with a foot injury.

Meanwhile, Tuesday night’s 1-0 defeat to Notts County was ‘East Anglian Daily Times’ correspondent Carl Marston’s 999th Colchester game as a reporter for this newspaper.

He will celebrate his 1,000th U’s game tomorrow, away at Rochdale.

See today’s ‘East Anglian Daily Times’ newspaper for a special double page feature on this personal landmark.

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