U's now in control of their own destiny
THE task is clear - win their last three matches and Colchester United will definitely be promoted to the Championship.The U's moved into the second automatic promotion slot following their 1-0 victory over Tranmere Rovers on Easter Monday, but they would have been usurped if Huddersfield had beaten visiting Chesterfield last night.
By Carl Marston
THE task is clear - win their last three matches and Colchester United will definitely be promoted to the Championship.
The U's moved into the second automatic promotion slot following their 1-0 victory over Tranmere Rovers on Easter Monday, but they would have been usurped if Huddersfield had beaten visiting Chesterfield last night.
However, the Terriers blew their chance to power into the top two, slumping to a 2-1 defeat to leave them three points adrift of buoyant Colchester.
Huddersfield led at half-time, through David Graham's 13th-minute strike, but a second-half brace from striker Paul Hall clinched a shock away success for the Spireites.
So Phil Parkinson's men are now in charge of their own destiny. They don't need to worry about other results, if they can maintain their winning run against Bournemouth (away), Rotherham (home) and Yeovil (away) during their run-in.
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“The defeat of Huddersfield means that it's now in our hands. It wasn't quite like that before, because Huddersfield would have moved level on points with a win,” explained Parkinson last night.
“We have three games to go, and we must just focus on these three matches. We can't worry about other results, and there's no need to.
“The pressure has not increased, just because we have moved into second spot. I just want us to continue producing the performances that we have managed in recent weeks, doing what we do best with our attacking style,” added Parkinson. Huddersfield stay in fourth spot, as a result of last night's defeat. Their last three fixtures are against three relegation candidates - Walsall (away), Yeovil (home) and Swindon (away). Third-placed Brentford have a similar run-in, with away games at Swindon and Bournemouth sandwiching a home match against relegation-threatened Hartlepool.
U's boss Parkinson has no new injury concerns ahead of this Saturday's trip to Bournemouth. In fact, the Essex club have avoided any such setbacks in recent weeks.
However, Parkinson insisted: “I have a strong squad at my disposal, but it's important to remember that we are having to cope without both Richard Garcia and Marino Keith.
“Even though Marino has not played at all this season (Achilles injury), both he and Richard are key members of the squad. Other clubs may moan about injuries, but we've had our fair share as well.”
Parkinson confirmed that both Kem Izzet and Stephen Hunt would figure for the U's Reserves against Oxford United this afternoon. Central midfielder Izzet has missed the last five games with an ankle injury, while left-back Hunt has been restricted to only a couple of appearances as a substitute all campaign.
“Kem (Izzet) will play, and Stephen (Hunt) is set to play for 45 minutes,” revealed Parkinson.
U's fans can turn up and pay on the day for this Saturday's match at Bournemouth, but tickets are already selling well for the final two fixtures of the season.
It promises to be a bumper crowd for the last home game at Layer Road, against Rotherham on Saturday week, while more than 400 tickets have already been snapped up for United's final match at Yeovil on May 6.
At the moment, tickets are only on sale to Priority Groups - season ticket holders, Colchester United Supporters' Association members, and those with eight or more Match Credits. They will go on general sale from next Monday.