John McGreal relishing some ‘big occasions’ during Colchester United’s exciting run-in

Brennnan Dickenson is foiled by Portsmouth's Adam Barton and keeper David Forde during the U's 2-0 d

Brennnan Dickenson is foiled by Portsmouth's Adam Barton and keeper David Forde during the U's 2-0 defeat at Fratton Park last August. The U's will be gunning for revenge today, with Dickenson operating as a left wing-back. Picture: PAGEPIX

Colchester United boss, John McGreal, is looking forward to some “big occasions” at the Weston Homes Community Stadium, between now and the end of the season.

And they don’t come much bigger than today’s visit of Portsmouth, the best-supported club in League Two.

Pompey burst into the top three, thanks to a 2-0 win at Crawley in midweek, and they will be hoping to further boost their automatic promotion hopes by completing a league double over the U’s.

However, McGreal’s men are on a good run of form themselves, despite a terrible injury crisis. They are just two places and three points adrift of the play-offs, following a run of just four defeats in their last 18 league fixtures.

That’s why today’s game is such a key contest for both clubs.


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“It’s all to play for,” enthused McGreal. “It’s all good, having these teams to play against, most of them needing points at the top of the table, or points at the bottom.

“We know that we have some heavy competition coming our way, playing teams who are trying to get into the top three, and other teams who are aiming for the play-offs, or trying to avoid relegation.

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“These are all great occasions, and personally I’m looking forward to it.

“We are in a good position, and that’s come about by us being a strong group. We have taken a lot of hits, with all the injuries, but we have still managed to put ourselves into a very good position.

“We haven’t actually set any targets, in terms of points totals, but the boys have done well this season, and they have been playing well of late,” added McGreal.

After today’s visit of Portsmouth, the U’s entertain Mansfield Town on Tuesday evening – the Stags are just one point and one place above the U’s, in eighth slot.

And over the coming weeks, top-six clubs Luton, Stevenage, Doncaster and Plymouth are all due at the Community Stadium, with the U’s enjoying home advantage in seven of their last 11 fixtures.

Portsmouth’s average home attendance (16,515) is far-and-away the best in League Two, ahead of Plymouth (9,275). Their away games are also top of the list (average of 5,633).

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