Preston will offer a much sterner test for Colchester United

Tony Humes

Tony Humes

Colchester United outgunned Crewe Alexandra on Saturday, but they are expecting a much sterner test on the road again, at Preston this weekend.

The U’s have been on a high this week, after goals from Freddie Sears, Rhys Healey and Sanchez Watt, coupled with a fourth clean-sheet in five games, secured a 3-0 win at Gresty Road.

But they will need to re-double their efforts for the coming challenge at Deepdale, against a Preston side who are sitting in the play-off zone after just one defeat in nine games.

“It’s going to be a stiff test up at Preston this week,” admitted U’s manager Tony Humes.

“It will be another different experience for the young players to deal with, in front of a big crowd and in a big stadium.

“But we will be going into the game with confidence from a clean-sheet and three goals at Crewe, on what was a very positive day for us.”

The Lilywhites are unbeaten on home turf this season – their one league reverse came at Walsall (3-1) – while they have an on-song striker in the shape of Joe Garner, who has already scored seven goals.

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Meanwhile, the U’s could have actually scored more than the three goals they managed in the second half at Crewe, although Humes believes that his team will get wiser with experience.

“As long as they get into the situation to score goals, I’m more than happy with that,” continued Humes.

“Perhaps as we keep going on and the belief builds, and the confidence builds, if we get a few more victories under our belt, then we might see that extra pass that might just play somebody in.

“I can’t be too critical about anybody, because Crewe was another solid defensive display.

“Sam Walker has been brilliant. He hasn’t had masses of work to do in those (last five) games, which is testimony to the team as a whole.”

Humes included Academy product Dion Sembie-Ferris in the 18-man squad for the first team at Crewe. The winger did not get on, but will have benefited from the experience.

Humes confirmed: “Dion earned that (call-up). He’s been very good in the last two under-21 games, and has been good in training.

“It an opportunity for another young player to get a taste of what league football is all about, with the atmosphere in the league grounds, and being involved on the bench.”

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