U’s begin with long trip to Preston
Short Tuesday trips and holidays at home – fixtures have been kind to U’s
LONG OPENING DAY TRIP
At nearly 300 miles, the U’s will be getting one of their longest trips of the season – to newly-relegated Preston North End – out of the way immedietely.
Colchester will be hoping for an improvement on their last trip to Deepdale when they were thrashed 7-0 in the FA Cup third round in 2009/10.
WYCOMBE RIVALRY RESUMED
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Despite almost 100 miles seperating the two sides, the rivalry between Colchester and Wycombe has been fierce ever since the U’s pipped the Chairboys to the Conference title in the 1991/92 season.
Now in the same division again following Wycombe’s promotion back to League One, the teams will meet twice in the opening week of the season.
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John Ward’s side travel to Adams Park for a midweek Carling Cup first round match and then host Gary Waddock’s side just a few days later for their first home game of the season.
The reverse league fixture is on March 10.
OPENING TWO MONTHS
Colchester went 10 league games undefeated at the start of last season but it looks like it’s going to be a tough ask to repeat that feat.
In August and September, Ward’s men host a Charlton side that are prepared to spend in the transfer market and Essex rivals Leyton Orient. They also visit Huddersfield – who just missed out on promotion last season – and newly-relegated Sheffield United.
The U’s are scheduled for three Tuesday night away games at the moment and they are all relatively short journeys – Brentford (Sept 13), Charlton (Mar 6) and Stevenage (Mar 2).
Tuesday night home games are against Charlton (Aug 16), Bournemouth (Oct 25), Brentford (Feb 14).
Colchester could yet reschedule some of their home fixtures to Friday nights as they did last season.
Colchester face the three teams that have come down from the Championship away from home within the opening two months of the season. A trip to Preston opens the campaign, while the U’s then travel to Scunthorpe (Sept 3) and Sheffield United two weeks’ later (Sept 17).
The reverse fixtures at The Weston Homes Community Stadium come on January 14 (Scunthorpe), February 4 (Sheffield United) and March 3 (Preston).
Wycombe have already been covered, so that leaves Chesterfield, Bury and Stevenage.
A trip to the B2net Stadium to face League Two champions Chesterfield comes on October 1, with the reverse fixture on January 21.
The U’s don’t face Bury and Stevenage until December. Both are visitors to The Weston Homes Community Stadium that month on the 10th and Boxing Day respectively.
Colchester visit Stevenage’s Broadhall Way on March 20 and Bury’s Gigg Lane Stadium on April 9 (Easter Monday).
Colchester have been given home games on both Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve (a Saturday) against Stevenage and Exeter respectively. They then travel to Milton Keynes on January 2 (a Bank Holiday Monday).
Over the Easter weekend the Essex side host Hartlepool (Saturday, April 7) before travelling to Bury on Easter Monday (April 9).
The longest journey of the season – the 350 mile trip to Carlisle – is on November 26. Hartlepool away in on December 17, while the trip to Yeovil is on February 18.
The U’s will be hoping that, come April, they will still be in with a shout of finishing in the top six. And the final six games don’t look too intimidating on paper.
They are: Hartlepool (h), Bury (a), Sheff Wed (h), Bournemouth (a), Tranmere (h), Notts County (a).