“It can change dramatically” – Colchester United defender Richard Brindley
- Credit: Richard Blaxall/Focus Images Ltd
Colchester United right-back, Richard Brindley, has no doubt that the U’s can turn their season around, despite sitting rock bottom of League One.
The U’s face a daunting trip to Essex rivals Southend United today, for an Essex derby that means so much to both teams, though for very different reasons.
While Phil Brown’s Southend side are in the thick of the play-off race, following recent back-to-back wins over top six rivals Coventry and then at Shrewsbury on Tuesday evening, the Us’ have gone a remarkable 108 days without a league win.
Despite this terrible run, featuring 10 defeats and three draws in their last 13 league games, U’s defender Brindley is confident that relegation can be avoided for a fourth successive season.
“There’s still a third of the season to go,” explained Brindley.
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“The lads right now are not negative.
“They are still positive and still confident, with each other, that as a team if we stick together and with the fans behind us of course, then we can make that transistion.
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“It’s obviously difficult, with the position we have been in the league, but we are confident and we believe it will change very soon.
“Right now, a couple of results have gone our way recently (including lowly Shrewsbury losing to tomorrow’s hosts Southend) so it’s still fairly tight at the bottom.
“There are still games to be won, and if you win two games on the bounce, all of a sudden it can change dramatically. And I think it’s coming, I really do, so we’ve got to stay positive.
“Last season was the first time I had experienced anything like it, with the relegation thing, and I’m hoping that it doesn’t go down to the last day again.
“There is no doubt, in my mind, that we can turn it around,” added Brindley.
Norwich-born Brindley, who was released by the Canaries after progressing through their Academy, initially arrived at Colchester on loan from Rotherham during the second half of last season.
The 22-year-old went on to play a big role in the U’s avoiding relegation to the fourth tier, on the final day of the season, thanks to a 1-0 home win over promotion-bound Preston.
Released by the Millers last summer, Brindley was snapped up on a two-year deal by the U’s, and today will be his 25th senior outing for the Essex club.
His 24th appearance, of course, was last Saturday’s 4-1 home defeat to Premier League high-fliers Tottenham in the FA Cup.
“The Tottenham game was a positive experience, it was a real blessing,” continued Brindley.
“We are obviously disappointed we didn’t get the result that we wanted, but Tottenham are at the top of their game and are probably the best they have been for the last two or three seasons in the Premier League.
“Best of luck to them this season, but we’re back to focusing on the league.
“It’s important to focus, and try to get a win against Southend. We are very determined to do that.
“In fact, it’s good to get the FA Cup out of the way, if anything, because we can now concentrate on doing the best we can in the league.”
The U’s are currently seven points adrift of safety, at the foot of the table, and that is effectively an eight-point deficit due to a very poor goal difference.
They have 18 games remaining, and they really need to take 29 or 30 points from the last 54 points up for grabs, to stay in League One.
That equates to winning about half of their remaining fixtures, which is promotion form – and they have only won five league games all campaign.
Even so, Brindley is staying upbeat.
“The lads are not exactly negative,” insisted Brindley.
“It’s not as though we go on the pitch thinking we are going to lose. It’s not like that at all.
“If anything, we are confident in training. There’s a lot of belief, and there is a lot of positivity, and that’s the most important thing, when things are not going your way.
“I fully believe, and so do all the lads and the staff, we fully believe that we’ll get the wins that we deserve.”
Keen has yet to win a league game, since he was appointed manager on December 21.
Brindley added: “I think it’s been really frustrating for the gaffer, because he’s been brilliant since he’s come in.
“I think you can see in games that we are a lot better organised and better structured, and we have deserved to win some games.”