Stevenage v Colchester United: U’s gunning for first away win of the year
PUBLISHED: 07:00 24 March 2018
Six of Colchester United’s last eight fixtures are against top 10 teams, all vying for promotion, but today they face a very different kind of opposition, led by a man enjoying his first match as a Football League manager.
The U’s League Two play-off hopes are effectively dead-and-buried, following a dismal run of three defeats and two draws in their last five fixtures.
This winless run has left John McGreal’s men a distant nine points adrift of the top seven, and therefore facing up to a third successive season in the fourth tier.
But they can do some damage, along the way, by denting the hopes of promotion candidates such as Accrington Stanley, Notts County, Lincoln City and Swindon, all during April, and then perhaps at Exeter on the final day of the season.
Before that, they have a fixture this weekend against lower mid-table hosts in Stevenage, who appointed Dino Maamrie as their new manager only four days ago.
Boro, like the U’s, are not going anywhere this season. They are 13 points clear of the relegation zone and 17 points adrift of the play-offs.
But they will be keen to mark Maamrie’s first match at the helm with a victory, just as the U’s will be looking to spoil the party and at the same time record a first away win of 2018.
“It’s a local game, against a new manager who will be keen to bring in his own ideas,” explained U’s boss McGreal.
“But for me it’s all about what we do. We need to improve in the final third of the pitch, because we have not had a killer instinct recently. But we still have eight games left.”
McGreal also revealed that out-of-favour striker Kurtis Guthrie “will not be involved,” at Stevenage, and perhaps even for the rest of the season. His contract expires this summer.
STEVENAGE: T King, Vancooten, J King, Wilkinson, Martin, Goddard, Sheaf, Smith, Amos, Newton, Revell, Franks, Whelpdale, White, Slater, O’Donnell, McKee, Bowditch, Henry & Fryer.
COLCHESTER: Walker, Jackson, Eastman, Prosser, Vincent-Young, Comley, Wright, Lapslie, Szmodics, Dickenson, Mandron, Mandeville, Shodipo, Murray, Stevenson, Senior, Rooney, Ogedi-Uzokwe & Barnes.
Referee: Graham Salisbury (Lancs)