‘It’s a fantastic situation for us to be in,’ insists Colchester United’s upbeat boss John McGreal

U's boss John McGreal, watching his side lose 3-1 at Notts County from two weeks ago. But the U's te

U's boss John McGreal, watching his side lose 3-1 at Notts County from two weeks ago. But the U's terrific home form has kept them in the play-off hunt. Picture: PAGEPIX

It is easy to forget that with Colchester United now vying for a play-off berth, they were actually embroiled in a relegation battle only last Autumn.

This is a fact not lost on U’s boss John McGreal, going into the last five games of the regular season.

When the U’s suffered their 13th defeat on the bounce, in all competitions, by conceding two late goals in a 2-1 reverse at Yeovil on November 17, they sunk to second-from-bottom on just 17 points from 17 games. At that time, the future looked bleak.

But now they are up to 10th spot, a mere three places and two points adrift of the top seven. The transformation has been remarkable.

“It’s a fantastic situation for us to be in,” insisted McGreal, ahead of tomorrow afternoon’s home match against already-promoted Doncaster Rovers.

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“Our home form has kept us in and around the play-offs, and now we’re only two points away. I don’t think anyone saw that coming, from back in November-time!

“We are still in with a shout of the play-offs, which was unthinkable only four or five months ago, and even now we still have seven players injured and not available for the first-team squad.

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“Other players have come in and stepped up to the mark, and it’s a bonus of this squad that they have been able to bounce back after letting themselves down in previous matches.

“We have been able to rectify things in the very next game, when we’ve had disappointments,” added McGreal.

The U’s bounced back from the 3-1 defeat at Notts County with a fine 4-0 drubbing of Stevenage last weekend, so clocking up their ninth win from their last 11 home matches.

“We’ve managed to get off to some good starts at home, which always helps,” continued McGreal.

“We’ve built on an early goal, which is something we have not been able to do away from home.”

The U’s have had to crack on without long-term injury victims Denny Johnstone, Craig Slater, Kurtis Guthrie, Frankie Kent, Doug Loft, Sammie Szmodics and Lloyd Doyley in recent weeks and months.

And earlier this week Owen Garvan, who had not featured in the last five matches, left the club by mutual consent for “personal reasons.”

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