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Kings of Anglia Issue 10 Magazine Offer

Promotion-chasing U's tough run-in starts this weekend

PUBLISHED: 08:00 23 February 2019

Ryan Jackson celebrates on the back of goalscorer Frank Nouble during the 3-0 win over Cheltenham, in the U's last home game. Jackson could play as a wing-back today, if the U's chose to start with a three-man defence  Picture: STEVE WALLER

Ryan Jackson celebrates on the back of goalscorer Frank Nouble during the 3-0 win over Cheltenham, in the U's last home game. Jackson could play as a wing-back today, if the U's chose to start with a three-man defence Picture: STEVE WALLER

© Copyright Stephen Waller

Colchester United have 13 games left, and nine of these are against top-half-of-the-table opposition, with seven of them in the top 10.

Colchester United boss John McGreal gives his team instructions from the touchline during the U's last home match, against Cheltenham Town.  Picture: STEVE WALLERColchester United boss John McGreal gives his team instructions from the touchline during the U's last home match, against Cheltenham Town. Picture: STEVE WALLER

So it’s a tough run ahead, for the promotion-chasing U’s, starting with today’s visit of seventh-placed Carlisle United.

Over the next couple of months, John McGreal’s men also have to face fellow top-10 outfits Forest Green Rovers, Exeter, Bury, Tranmere Rovers, MK Dons and Lincoln, in addition to play-off outsiders Grimsby and Oldham.

In all these cases, therefore, a victory for the U’s would also deprive potential promotion rivals of valuable points.

Looking ahead to this weekend’s clash against Carlisle, McGreal said: “These are two good footballing teams.

Frank Nouble has scored in each of the U's last three games, including this one when he fired past Cheltenham keeper Scott Flinders.  Picture: STEVE WALLERFrank Nouble has scored in each of the U's last three games, including this one when he fired past Cheltenham keeper Scott Flinders. Picture: STEVE WALLER

“Carlisle play a good brand of football, and we are the same way. We have both been around it, for the majority of the season.

“But we are still in February, and there are still 13 games left.

“I don’t want to dress it up anymore than this match being just three points up for grabs.

“I’ve gone on record earlier admitting that we had a poor month, points-wise, in January, although performances were there.

Young midfielder Diaz Wright, who could feature against Carlisle United today. Picture: STEPHEN WALLERYoung midfielder Diaz Wright, who could feature against Carlisle United today. Picture: STEPHEN WALLER

“February has been a decent month, up to now, but we know come Saturday against Carlisle that it’s going to be a very difficult match against a fellow team who are in and around the play-offs.

“I know they have lost a couple of late (to MK Dons and Crewe), but previous to that they had been in really, really hot form (spell of winning eight from 10 league matches).

“This is a game that we are really looking forward to, knowing that we are on a good run,” added McGreal.

So far this month, the U’s have taken seven points from a possible nine, with a 3-0 home win over Cheltenham sandwiched by a 4-0 win at Northampton and last week’s 1-1 draw at Macclesfield.

Squads

COLCHESTER: Gilmartin, Eastman, Prosser, Kent, Jackson, Stevenson, Lapslie, Vincent-Young, Senior, Szmodics, Nouble, Eisa, Wright, Mandron, Norris, Roberts, Dickenson, Dunne & Barnes.

CARLISLE: Collin, Miller, Gerrard, Grant, Grainger, Thomas, Slater, Etuhu, O’Hare, Scougall, Hope, McCarron, Cullen, Liddell, Kennedy, Jones, Glendon, Simpson, Parkes & Gray.

Referee: Trevor Kettle (Rutland)

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