‘It’s not over yet’ – warns U’s boss

Joe Dunne

Joe Dunne - Credit: Archant

COLCHESTER United might be back on track, but as manager Joe Dunne is quick to state – “it’s not over yet.”

The U’s go into this weekend’s round of matches with a five-point buffer between themselves and the bottom four.

Oldham’s home win over Hartlepool on Tuesday evening cut that margin from seven to five, with Scunthorpe now fourth-from-bottom.

The Iron have one game in hand over the U’s, and Oldham still have two in hand, so it’s still nip-and-tuck on the fringes of the relegation zone.

“Beating Bury (2-1) was a great day for the club, but there’s still 21 points to play for,” insisted Dunne.

“It’s not over yet. We have to keep pushing, and we have to keep showing the same level of commitment.”

An unbeaten run of four games on the road, featuring wins at Stevenage and Bury, and draws at Hartlepool and Coventy, have propelled Dunne’s men to 43 points.

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But the U’s now have to replicate that form onto home turf, because they have back-to-back home games coming up against MK Dons (this Saturday) and Bournemouth (on Good Friday).

At least the U’s squad should be strengthened by the return of several key players for the visit of the Dons.

Jabo Ibehre is available again, after serving a three-match suspension, so he should return to lead the attack. There is also a chance that fellow front-runner Freddie Sears will make the squad after a recent knee injury.

That will give Dunne options in attack, in addition to impressive loan signing Michael Smith and a rejuvenated Clinton Morrison.

Right-back Brian Wilson, who missed the trip to Gigg Lane through illness, should return, while other players who were also suffering from the same virus last weekend – the likes of Billy Clifford, Sam Walker, Magnus Okuonghae – will have benefited from a midweek rest.

“We have given the players some time off in the week, to be with their families and spend some down-time, because it’s been so full-on it has been incredible,” said Dunne.

“But we now regroup, and we go again. Our focus is still to get beyond 50 points.”