Play-off chasing Colchester United have not looked back since defeat by the Magpies

Brennan Dickenson is disappointed at the final whistle following the 3-1 defeat at Notts County on A

Brennan Dickenson is disappointed at the final whistle following the 3-1 defeat at Notts County on April 1. At the time, the U's play-off hopes looked remote, while Dickenson has since suffered a long-term knee injury. Picture: PAGEPIIX

Colchester United’s season looked dead-and-buried, just a month ago, following a 3-1 defeat at Notts County on April 1.

A killer brace from ex-Newcastle United star, Shola Ameobi, appeared to have killed off the injury-plagued U’s chances of making the top seven.

John McGreal’s men were five points adrift of the play-off zone, going into the last half-dozen fixtures, and had dropped to a distant 12th in the League Two table.

Futhermore, key strikers Kurtis Guthrie and Denny Johnstone had long been ruled out for the season, as had key midfielder Craig Slater, while fellow midfielder Owen Garvan was soon to leave the Essex club, by mutual consent, and potential match-winner Brennan Dickenson has since been sidelined by a serious knee injury.

And yet, against the odds, the U’s do find themselves in the mix for a top-seven berth, going into tomorrow’s final game of the regular season, against visiting Yeovil (kick-off 5.30pm).

An unbeaten five-game run, featuring two wins and three draws, has given McGreal’s men at least a chance of gate-crashing the top seven.

“We had been looking forward to getting into this position for the last month, especially after the defeat at Notts County, when we knew that we had to go on a run,” admitted McGreal.

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“We were so disappointed with the defeat at Notts County, at the start of the month. (Shola) Ameobi was on fire that day!

“I thought at the time that that might have been the draw which broke the camel’s back, but the boys bounced back in training during the next week, and have not looked back since.

“Now it’s down to a shoot-out to get into the play-offs, involving around four or five other teams. It would have been great if it was in our own hands, but although we can do is to just get the three points and then see what happens.

“I’m sure all the information from other games will be flooding around the place, but me and (assistant) Steve (Ball) have to keep focused on keeping the players focused on winning another home game.

“It’s what we have pinned for since the turn of the year, to have an opportunity to get into the play-offs on the final day, and it will be a great occasion.

“It’s a home game on the last game of the season, and there’s tons of excitement ahead,” added McGreal.