John McGreal revels in the special bond between Colchester United players and fans

Richard Brindley goes close with a shot during the 0-0 draw against today's hosts Newport County, fr

Richard Brindley goes close with a shot during the 0-0 draw against today's hosts Newport County, from last October - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Colchester United boss, John McGreal, will be giving basement dwellers Newport County his utmost respect this afternoon, despite the Welsh club’s current plight at the foot of the Football League.

The Exiles have only won one home league game all season, although that was against previously unbeaten Carlisle United (2-0 last November), and have only taken six points from 11 games at Rodney Parade. Their manager, Graham Westley, is determined to arrest that slide.

McGreal said: “Graham (Westley) is highly experienced as this level, and the level above, so it’s going to be a really tough game.

“They’ve brought in a number of new players of late, and released a lot of players as well, so he is trying to find that balance at the moment.

“He hasn’t quite found that right balance yet, and we’re hoping he doesn’t find it against us because we want to continue our run.

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“We certainly won’t be treating this game any differently to any other game this season.

“We found ourselves in that position before, near the bottom of the league, and we were fortunate enough to get through it. I’m sure Graham is doing the same, trying to find the balance.”

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McGreal is certainly relishing the U’s current purple patch – the club has won five league games on the trot for the first time since the promotion-winning campaign of 2005-06.

“It’s fantastic at the minute, the way things have gone,” continued McGreal.

“For me, the most pleasing thing is the way our fans and players are developing that bond. You see it home and away, and I think that’s fantastic. There is a feel-good factor, and we want to enjoy this period.

“When you are enjoying your football, things come easy, like training and the preparation for each game.

“Last Saturday (4-1 win against Carlisle), it was a tight game at 1-1 and then 2-1 up and Carlisle really came onto us. There were only 3,500 or so fans there, but the way the fans reacted and the way they got behind their team, you’d think there were 5,000 of them in the ground.

“That’s what has been really good of late, that bond. The players want to put on a performance for the fans, knowing they will get backed.

“You can hear them a lot more, which is great, and we will be doing our utmost this weekend to get a result.”

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