Tough times ahead for Colchester United

U's boss Tony Humes

U's boss Tony Humes - Credit: Richard Blaxall/Focus Images Ltd

‘When the going gets tough, the tough get going’ – that’s a saying which Colchester United have subscribed to in recent seasons, and manager Tony Humes will be hoping for more of the same over the coming weeks.

The U’s, who have emerged unscathed from three successive battles against relegation, over the last three years, have endured yet another torrid start to the current campaign.

Humes’ struggling side have failed to win any of their first seven league and cup games, and it certainly isn’t going to get any easier for the beleaguered Essex club.

They are second-from-bottom, following last weekend’s round of matches – the U’s themselves did not have a game, because international call-ups allowed scheduled hosts Sheffield United to postpone the fixture, until next week.

Away victories for Shrewsbury (at Barnsley) and Blackpool (at Scunthorpe) saw them leapfrog the U’s, leaving only Crewe keeping Humes’ men off the foot of the table.

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And a quick glance at the fixture list does not make for encouraging reading – the U’s next four games are against top eight clubs, three of them away from home, and in fact the next half-dozen matches are all against top-half-of-the-table sides.

The U’s are away at Chesterfield this Saturday, the scene of a disastrous 6-0 defeat last April. The Spireites are currently eighth in the table.

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Next Tuesday, September 15, the U’s travel to Bramall Lane for the re-arranged game against fourth-placed Sheffield United, before league leaders Gillingham arrive at the Weston Homes Community Stadium the following Saturday (September 19).

Seventh-placed Swindon, one of the promotion favourites, will entertain the U’s the following weekend, and then mid-table Bradford (11th) and Bury (12th) will visit the U’s.

It all adds up to a gruelling next six games for the U’s, and they will have to play out-of-their-skins, or at least certainly improve on recent performances, if they are to drag themselves out of the bottom four.

Meanwhile, U’s chairman Robbie Cowling yesterday issued an official statement, insisting that he was still fully behind boss Humes, and that he was not in the habit of sacking managers with knee-jerk reactions.

In that statement, Cowling said: “Yes, the last three years have been difficult and the next few years won’t be easy either.

“But I am happy with the way I invest my time, effort and money in the managerial staff we have at Colchester United, so if you are thinking of writing to me about my manager’s future, please save your stamps.”

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