Ten reasons why Colchester United have flopped this season

Sam Walker makes a good save, in pre-season, before he got injured. He has not played a league game

Sam Walker makes a good save, in pre-season, before he got injured. He has not played a league game for Colchester United all season - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Let’s face it – Colchester United are heading for League Two football next season.

Colchester United boss Kevin Keen

Colchester United boss Kevin Keen - Credit: Richard Blaxall/Focus Images Ltd

The U’s cause appears to be a hopeless one. They are 10 points adrift of safety, with just 11 games remaining and with a dreadful goal difference to boot.

In fact, the Essex club will do well to avoid the ignominy of finishing rock bottom of League One.

Here are 10 reasons why the U’s have so under-performed this season:

No. 1: Walker’s plight

One of the best keepers in League One, Sam Walker injured his knee during the first week of the season, which has kept him out for the whole campaign. He did not even play one league game, and his absence has been a huge blow, probably costing the U’s several points.

No. 2: A woeful defence

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United remain well on course to concede 100 league goals this season. They have currently leaked 81 goals in 35 games.

No. 3: Sordell’s struggles

Marvin Sordell’s failure to hit top form has been another key factor, especially as his arrival, last September, was supposed to solve a goal-scoring problem.

But the ex-Watford, Bolton and Burnley striker, who was playing in the Premier League with Burnley only last season, managed just four goals before suffering an ankle injury that looks set to sideline him for the rest of the campaign. He has undergone a recent operation. Sordell’s last league goal was nearly five months ago, in a 4-4 draw against Walsall on October 24.

No. 4: Chronic away form

Before last week’s 2-1 win at Bradford City, the U’s had picked up just one point in 11 away games, with 10 defeats and a 1-1 draw at Oldham. That, in anyone’s book, is relegation form!

No. 5: Awful run

Any team that breaks a club record, for a length of time not winning a game, is going to struggle, and the U’s went 19 league matches without a victory, a period stretching to 133 days between a 2-1 success over Port Vale (October 20, 2015) and a 2-1 win at Bradford (March 1, 2016).

No. 6: Trouble at the top

Tony Humes’ departure, after a 3-2 home defeat by Crewe on November 26, did not signal any up-turn in fortunes. In fact, the results got worse, not better, starting with a 5-1 hammering at Burton.

New manager Kevin Keen, appointed just four days before Christmas, has been unable to stop the rot, and now Humes has returned as Director of Football, a long-term move by chairman Robbie Cowling.

No. 7: Mentality

Any team that tends to concede goals in batches, will be questioned in terms of a weak mentality. Too often this season, the U’s have folded in dramatic fashion, as at fellow strugglers Shrewsbury, where they conceded four second-half goals to lose 4-2, at Wigan (conceded three goals in the first 11 minutes in a 5-0 loss) and against Crewe, where they lost a 2-0 lead to lose 3-2.

No. 8: Centre-half deficiencies

Tom Eastman has had countless partners at the back, including Frankie Kent, Alex Wynter, George Elokobi, Matt Briggs, Jamie Harney and Leo Chambers, hardly ideal!

No. 9: No home comforts

Just three wins from 17 games at the Community Stadium says it all. There has been no home fortress.

No. 10: No inspiring late arrivals

While the arrival of centre-halves Kaspars Gorkss and then Bongani Khumalo helped to steer the U’s to relegation safety last season, helped by winger Jacob Murphy, there have been no loan saviours during the second half of this campaign.

Leo Cambers’ recent arrival from West Ham has almost certainly come too late to have the desired effect.

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