‘This is now the moment’ – Colchester United boss Joe Dunne

Joe Dunne

Joe Dunne

Colchester United’s season is on a knife-edge.

The U’s are still three points clear of the drop zone, despite Wednesday night’s 2-0 defeat at Peterborough, but that will all change if the U’s losing run continues today.

Fellow strugglers Tranmere Rovers roll up at the Weston Homes Community Stadium this weekend, with a big incentive to heap yet more woe on Joe Dunne’s men – they are only three points adrift of the U’s, with a precious game in hand.

If other results go against them, only goal difference could be keeping the U’s out of the bottom four by tonight.

But that’s looking at it with a negative slant. Dunne, instead, is determined to stay positive, and certainly a first win in five, over Rovers, would be a real turning point for the U’s season.

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That’s why this afternoon is such a crunch moment in the U’s whole campaign.

“This is now the moment,” insisted Dunne.

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“Saturday’s game becomes a real season definer, if you like.

“With the games now coming up, we need everybody to stick together and get behind each other.

“We have got to show an aggression and a positive attitude. If we start wallowing in the mire of Wednesday night, about the negative defeat, then we might as well not turn up on Saturday! Let’s not bother to turn up to the game!

“But if we can beat Tranmere, then we knock them out of it and we move up the league, it’s as simple as that. And that’s a big incentive.

“To do that, we have to show a better aggression and a willingness to win the game, because both teams will be desperate to win on Saturday.”

The U’s have picked up just one point from a possible 12, in their last four fixtures, the sort of lean spell that no team wants to experience at this business end of the season.

Dunne’s men have conceded the first goal in all of these fixtures, which is such a setback for a side who have struggled to bounce back from losing positions throughout the year.

The Dubliner is staying positive, and talking positive, but he recognises that the players themselves also have to work on their mental approach to games.

“That’s the kind of manager I am – I try to keep the players as positive as I can, and in the right frame of mind for games,” continued Dunne.

“But unfortunately, at the moment, things are going against us. Sometimes it has to come from the players, also.

“I know I have a group of players in there who have to find an extra edge to their game, cut out the mistakes – that goes without saying – and still believe they can win games.

“Saturday gives us that opportunity – we are at home, we are going to need the crowd to get behind us, and we are going to need every bit of help we can get.

“That’s because at the moment, with the run we are in, it is difficult.

“A positive atmosphere is needed, from everybody, although we also need a positive performance.

“And we need to be on the front foot on Saturday, like we were against Notts County in the first half last weekend.

“In Peterborough we came up against a team who really wanted to win, a top-six team who are saying that they not moving out of the top six. They showed that, and we need to adopt that attitude – we need to move up the league. We need to get out of where we are,” concluded Dunne.

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