Sun break could revitalise Colchester
COLCHESTER United's match-weary squad have been given a chance to recharge their batteries with a short-stay in Portugal during the first half of this week.
COLCHESTER United's match-weary squad have been given a chance to recharge their batteries with a short-stay in Portugal during the first half of this week, writes Carl Marston.
The U's have been flying high in the league, and also engrossed in two long cup runs, so they have taken advantage of a rare midweek without a game to visit a training camp in Portugal for three days.
Phil Parkinson's men travelled out to Portugal on Sunday, after suffering the disappointment of a 1-0 defeat at promotion rivals Barnsley on Saturday. However, the U's remain in the thick of the promotion race, with 13 league games still to play, and they are also just one step away from a first-ever appearance at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium in the LDV Vans Trophy - they have a two-legged southern area final against Swansea, with the first leg in south Wales next Tuesday, March 7.
The U's also went abroad on a short trip two years ago, after likewise reaching the fifth round of the FA Cup and also the penultimate stage of the LDV Vans Trophy.
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The break in the warm sunshine certainly did Colchester some good, because they returned to lose just two their last 10 league games, and so finished 12th in League One.
Parkinson confirmed: “Mr Heard (U's chairman Peter Heard) has agreed to pay for us to go away for a few days this week.
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“It's the same as a couple of years ago, when we also had a good cup run.”
United are currently in third spot, five points behind leaders Southend, but with two games in hand.
They entertain the Shrimpers in a crunch Essex derby at Layer Road this Saturday. That match is a sell-out.
However, Parkinson's men could drop to fifth by the end of tonight, depending on results.
Barnsley travel to Bournemouth, while Brentford are at Doncaster.
If the Tykes and the Bees both win, then the U's will drop a couple of places in the table. But if they only draw or lose, then United will stay third.