Points mean prizes for U's

COLCHESTER United may need another 34 points, from their final 18 games, to gate-crash the end-of-season play-offs.

Carl Marston

COLCHESTER United may need another 34 points, from their final 18 games, to gate-crash the end-of-season play-offs.

That might sound a lot, but the U's are certainly in the kind of form to achieve that target - they have accumulated 27 points from their last 12 fixtures alone!

Last night's scheduled League One game at fifth-placed Millwall was called off at the start of the week, because of all the heavy snow falling in south-east London.

That at least gives Paul Lambert's men more time to prepare for this Saturday's home game against Stockport County, who are one of those teams vying with the U's to steal a top-six berth.

I have come up with the number 34, because that is how many points the U's would have needed to finish in sixth spot at the end of the regular season last term.

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But it is possible that they could sneak into the top six with just a further 29 points (sufficient in 2003-04 and again the following season), and they have managed to collect their last 31 points from just 16 games.

Looking on the negative side, Tranmere Rovers once missed out on the play-offs, despite rattling up 80 points in 2002-03.

But that was an exceptional year, because Wigan won the title with 100 points, while seventh-placed Tranmere ended up a mighty 15 points clear of eight-placed Plymouth, only to trail sixth-placed Cardiff by a point.

Meanwhile, as predicted on Monday, U's boss Lambert has been short-listed for the League One manager-of-the-month award for January.

Lambert guided the U's to three wins and two draws during their five fixtures last month. The Scotsman was also short-listed for the December award, only to be pipped by Leicester City boss Nigel Pearson.

And Pearson is one of the chosen quartet again for January, having presided over four wins and one defeat. His high-flying Foxes currently lead League One by 10 points.

The other two contenders are Scunthorpe's Nigel Adkins, who has also masterminded four wins and one defeat for Iron, and Bristol Rovers manager Paul Trollope. He is the rank outsider because Rovers only won two of their four league fixtures in January.

Fact-file

POINTS tally of the sixth-placed team in League One (previously Nationwide Division Two) over the last 10 years:

2007-08: 76 (Southend)

2006-07: 75 (Oldham)

2005-06: 71 (Swansea)

2004-05: 71 (Hartlepool)

2003-04: 73 (Hartlepool)

2002-03: 81 (Cardiff)

2001-02: 78 (Huddersfield)

2000-01: 75 (Wigan)

1999-00: 75 (Barnet)

1998-99: 76 (Wigan)

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