Record looms again for U's

FOR the second time this season, Colchester United have a chance to set a club record for consecutive victories.The U's team of 1987-88, at the end of Mike Walker's reign as manager, strung together a run of eight successive league and cup wins.

By Carl Marston

FOR the second time this season, Colchester United have a chance to set a club record for consecutive victories.

The U's team of 1987-88, at the end of Mike Walker's reign as manager, strung together a run of eight successive league and cup wins. After a wait of 18 years, that record was matched by Phil Parkinson's men at the back end of last year.

The present-day U's came desperately close to breaking the record outright.


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They had an opportunity to chalk up a ninth win on the bounce at high-flying Swansea on December 10, but had to be content with a 1-1 draw and a valuable point, after Neil Danns had missed an 85th-minute penalty.

Most people thought that it would be another 18 years before Colchester had another chance to threaten the landmark of the class of 1987-88. Remarkably, though, less than two months on and the Layer Road go-getters are on the glory trail again.

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Since the Boxing Day defeat at Swindon, the U's have won eight games on the trot.

That includes five league matches, two FA Cup wins over Championship opponents in Sheffield United and Derby County, and an LDV Vans Trophy success at Cheltenham.

The elusive win No. 9 could arrive this weekend, when mid-table Bradford City are the visitors to Layer Road.

Walker was in charge when Colchester kick-started their record-breaking run of 1987, although he had left the Layer Road hot-seat by the time that run ended with a 1-0 home defeat by Wolves on November 21.

Former stalwart keeper Walker, who made a total of 522 senior appearances for the U's, enjoyed considerable success as a manager at Layer Road.

He scooped the manager of the month award for October, 1987, before his shock departure was announced by chairman Jonathan Crisp at the beginning of November.

The exact reason remains a mystery to this day.

Walker went on to lead Norwich City into Europe, by guiding the Canaries into third spot in the Premier League in 1992-93.

Back to 1987, and caretaker manager Steve Foley was in charge for the U's sixth win on the trot, against Rochdale (4-1), and the midweek win at Halifax (2-1).

New manager Roger Brown was appointed the following weekend, and presided over an FA Cup success against non-league Tamworth. Then came the defeat by Wolves.

Parkinson is not worried about setting club records.

He insisted last night: “I'm not interested in record runs, just our next game.

“I'm not even worried about the other teams around us. They might have made a little ground, while we've been playing in the cup, but there's nothing we can do about that. I'm not bothered about their results, only ours.”

The U's are currently second in League One, although they could drop to fourth tonight, if rivals Southend and Huddersfield both manage to win their matches.

But Parkinson's men have games in hand over both clubs.

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