‘It could turn into a bit of a boxing match’ – U’s boss McGreal
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Colchester United have enjoyed a good start to the new season, in League Two, but boss John McGreal admits that there is still a gap to be bridged to become major promotion contenders.
The U’s make their second trip to Nottinghamshire inside a fortnight, following their opening day 0-0 draw at Notts County, to take on another of the fancied sides, Mansfield Town.
A similar result to that achieved at Meadow Lane would be deemed a success for the U’s, especially on the back of their 2-0 home win over Port Vale last weekend. Likewise, the Stags have bagged four points from their first two league fixtures.
“Mansfield have been tipped by many for promotion, and they have had some good results already,” explained McGreal.
“We are still bridging that gap in this division, as regards some of these clubs, so the hard work starts now for us.
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“We are expecting a tough afternoon, in front of what is usually a very vociferous home support. Their manager (David Flitcroft) has been changing the style of play, a little bit, from the days under Steve Evans, but we both go into this game full of confidence, so it could turn into a bit of a boxing match, you never know.
“We must do the basics well, which is what we did at Notts County,” added McGreal.
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A mystery bug swept through the Essex club earlier this week, affecting players and the back-room staff, but most have now recovered fully from that ordeal.
Kane Vincent-Young, one of those to miss out at Cheltenham in the EFL Cup in midweek (2-2 draw, losing 6-5 on penalties), should return at left-back today. His inclusion would allow Brennan Dickenson to play in a more advanced role down the left.
Brandon Comley, who has only had eight minutes of action in the league this term, played the full 90 minutes in central midfield and might get another start today, while McGreal has several options up top with Frank Nouble, Mikael Mandron and Luke Norris all champing at the bit.
Ex-Swindon striker Norris played the full 90 minutes at Whaddon Road, despite lacking match-sharpess due to injuries which have disrupted his training, so he is likely to be on the bench.
Last season’s leading scorer, Sammie Szmodics, and club captain Luke Prosser were both on the bench on Tuesday night, but both should be named in today’s starting XI.
“Our first two strong league performances should stand us in good stead, but we need more of that to come away from Mansfield with something,” added McGreal.