Pressure is now on

COLCHESTER United midfielder Johnnie Jackson believes the U's might have to cope with some added pressure over the next few weeks.Championship new boys Colchester have defied all the pre-season doom and gloom, about being relegation certainties, with an eye-catching first three months of the campaign.

By Carl Marston

COLCHESTER United midfielder Johnnie Jackson believes the U's might have to cope with some added pressure over the next few weeks.

Championship new boys Colchester have defied all the pre-season doom and gloom, about being relegation certainties, with an eye-catching first three months of the campaign.

Geraint Williams' men are now installed in the top 10, on the back of a fantastic sequence of results at Layer Road - they have won their last six home games on the bounce.


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Now they are preparing for back-to-back away fixtures, with first-ever league visits to Leeds United and Sunderland.

Jackson explained: “Beating Cardiff, the league leaders, has put down a marker to the rest of the division. That result will have raised a few eyebrows.

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“People are starting to mention us now, and that could lead to a little more pressure. Teams won't be taking us so lightly.

“In fact, we might be expected to win each time we play at home, which won't be easy. It's a different kind of pressure.

“However, finishing fourth-from-bottom at the end of the season remains our main target. We need to keep picking up points, and we face difficult away trips to Leeds and Sunderland. But those are the sort of games you want to be involved in,” added Jackson.

Summer signing Jackson, recruited from Tottenham, started the U's first three matches of the season, before picking up an injury in the 2-1 home defeat by Barnsley on August 12.

The 24-year-old was back in the squad within a month, but he has had to bide his time on the substitutes' bench, due to the form of the team, and more specifically the form of fellow midfielders Kevin Watson and Kem Izzet.

He was an unused substitute for six matches, before appearing as a first-half replacement for Watson at Coventry City last month. And while Watson has been recovering from a calf injury, Jackson has made his own presence felt in central midfield.

“I got injured at the wrong time, early on in the season. The boys then began winning, so I couldn't get back into the side,” confirmed Jackson.

“It was a frustrating two months for me, but I've now started the last three games, and I'm happy with my performances. It's down to me to try and keep my place.

“I thought we deserved to beat Cardiff (3-1 victory). It was 0-0 at half-time, and we were saying to each other in the dressing room that they were no better than us. We thought that the game was there for us to win.

“I set up Kevin McLeod for the first goal. I'm claiming that as my assist. Jamie Guy then got us the second goal. He's a strong boy, as strong as anyone. He was full of energy during the final 20 minutes.

“I don't think we were flattered by the win. Now I want to start scoring a few goals myself. If Jamie (Cureton) hadn't fancied taking the penalty in injury-time, then I would have gladly taken it. I want to get off the mark.

“I can appreciate why teams don't like coming to Layer Road. They have to adjust to the conditions, but I haven't had a problem since I arrived from Tottenham. I was on loan here before, and loved it,” added Jackson.

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