U's hope to stay Perky

DAVID Perkins chose Colchester United above Stockport County, when he chose to move on from his old club Rochdale last summer.

Carl Marston

DAVID Perkins chose Colchester United above Stockport County, when he chose to move on from his old club Rochdale last summer.

And Perkins rubbed salt into the wounds of the Hatters when he scored in the U's 2-1 win at Edgeley Park on October 18. He helped to mark new manager Paul Lambert's first game in charge with an impressive away success.

Now midfielder Perkins, who has spent much of this season operating on the flank, rather in the centre of the park, is targeting six points out of six this week.

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For the U's to stand a chance of scraping into the play-offs, Perkins insists that the U's must take maximum points from tonight's home game against Stockport, and Saturday's home fixture against mid-table Hartlepool.

Saturday's 1-0 home defeat to Southend, in the Essex derby, put a massive dent in the U's hopes of reaching the top six. Time is running out fast.

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“It was a poor result and a disappointing day. It's a setback to our push for the play-offs,” admitted Perkins.

“We really wanted those three points, but we're not going to give up. I think we can still make the play-offs, but only if we go on a great run.

“I definitely think we have to win both our home games this week. We need to take six points out of six, starting against Stockport,” added Perkins.

In addition to losing their last three games on the bounce, the U's have also failed to score in these trio of defeats - against Tranmere, Walsall and Southend.

In fact, Perkins was the last U's player to score a goal - in the 2-0 away win at Carlisle on January 31. That was his fourth league goal of the season, but United have not scored in 358 minutes of football.

“We are struggling to score goals at the moment, which is a cause for concern,” continued Perkins.

“However, we are also finding it difficult at the other end as well. We are finding it hard to keep clean-sheets, so the two problems go hand-in-hand.

“We had a few chances in the first half against Southend, but I thought that we lost our way a bit in the second half.

“You have to give Southend some credit for this, because they made it hard for us with two strong banks of four. I don't think they had a winger in the side, just four central midfielders!”

Tonight's crowd might struggle to number even half of Saturday's record-breaking attendance of 8,651, which was more than 25% higher than the previous best of 6,290 (against Leyton Orient on December 28).

Despite the disappointing result, and a frustrating second-half display, Perkins believes that the players benefited from performing on such a big stage.

“The crowd were great. They really got behind us, and I think that encouraged us to raise our game in the first half,” said Perkins.

“That's been missing a bit this season, playing in front of a big crowd. Hopefully, if we can push on for the play-offs then these supporters will keep coming back.

“Attendances have been pretty poor this season, but the crowd really gave us a lift against Southend, despite the result. In fact, they even gave us a lift while we were warming up!

“That's why we feel that we have let the fans down, because we didn't get them the win that they craved,” concluded Perkins.

Heysham-born Perkins has started every league game since Lambert took charge. Tonight is set to be his 27th league start on the bounce.

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