Time is running out for Colchester United
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
There are still 11 games left, and yet time is already running out for Colchester United to launch a promotion bid during the last two months of the season.
The odds are now stacked against John McGreal’s men reaching the League Two play-offs, after back-to-back defeats to Crewe and Barnet, both embroiled in relegation battles, have left them seven points adrift of the top seven.
In fact, it was only Newport County’s failure to beat lowly Forest Green Rovers (3-3 draw) in midweek which prevented the U’s from sliding into the lower half of the table.
On the face of it, a point at high-flying Mansfield Town this afternoon would be a good result – the Stags are in fifth spot, a mere one point off the automatic promotion slots, and have only lost one of their last 14 league games.
Only Swindon Town, ironically managed at the time by new Mansfield boss David Flitcroft, have celebrated a league win over the Stags since December 9.
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But a draw would not really be enough for the U’s today. They need wins, and quickly, to make up lost ground.
“Why dwell on the past? We need wins, and we are trying to get back to basics,” explained U’s boss John McGreal.
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“We want to be efficient in what we do, and put in a good performance, or if not then put in a determined and strong-willed performance to get us the win.
“I have plenty of players to choose from this weekend. We want to build a siege mentality, and be positive.
“It’s all down to us, in these final 11 games. I don’t think any team is going to go and win 10 or 11 games on the bounce, so it will stay tight.
“We know that we need to improve. We’ve drawn a line over the last two games, “ added McGreal.
MANSFIELD TOWN: Logan, Anderson, White, Pearce, Benning, Byrom, MacDonald, Mellis, Hamilton, Rose, Hemmings, King, Potter, Angol, Diamond, Atkinson, Spencer, Miller, Penney & Olejnik.
COLCHESTER UNITED: Walker, Eastman, Prosser, Kent, Jackson, Murray, Lapslie, Dickenson, Szmodics, Mandron, Guthrie, Inniss, Stevenson, Wright, Vincent-Young, Mandeville, Comley, Senior, Ogedi-Uzowke & Gilmartin.
Referee: Ross Joyce (Cleveland)