U's stay realistic
COLCHESTER United are sitting pretty in the top six but joint leading scorer Chris Iwelumo is still not thinking about the play-offs.Iwelumo rammed home his 14th goal of the season, from the penalty spot, to earn a 1-1 home draw against Leicester City last weekend, a result that maintained the U's position in the play-off zone.
By Carl Marston
COLCHESTER United are sitting pretty in the top six but joint leading scorer Chris Iwelumo is still not thinking about the play-offs.
Iwelumo rammed home his 14th goal of the season, from the penalty spot, to earn a 1-1 home draw against Leicester City last weekend, a result that maintained the U's position in the play-off zone.
The Scotsman, though, has one thing on his mind - to get to 50 points as quickly possible.
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“We are a bunch of realists here. True, we are in the top six, but I think that promotion is out of our reach at the moment,” insisted Iwelumo.
“We can set ourselves some other targets, like play-offs and promotion, but we won't be doing that until we've got to 50 points.
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“Next up is Ipswich, and that will be a very special game for the players and the fans. We want to take our second-half performance from the Leicester game into this next match.
“I'm really looking forward to the Ipswich match. I have a few friends who play for them,” added Iwelumo.
The U's tremendous run of 11 straight home victories was ended by Leicester, although the 1-1 draw ensured that Geraint Williams' men stayed in sixth slot, which is the final play-off position.
But on their travels, the Essex club have struggled all season. In fact, they have only won two of their 16 away fixtures, and that included a 2-1 defeat at Barnet in the FA Cup in their previous away fixture.
Iwelumo continued: “It was important that we got back on track following our away defeats at QPR (1-0) and Barnet, but I don't think that it was a particularly tricky time for us.
“We were a bit disappointed not to carry on our winning home against Leicester, but we have not been beaten at Layer Road in a long time. We have basically carried on our home form from last season.
“The goal-scoring charts don't lie, so it's great that Jamie (Cureton) and I have both scored 14 goals.
“If you had told me that would be the case before the season started, that we would have 28 goals between us by the middle of January, then I wouldn't have believed you.
“It's a little-and-large pairing that is working well. We know each other's game, having also played together last season. I think that we complement each other,” added Iwelumo.
As yet, the U's have managed to hold onto all of their players since the transfer window reopened at the start of this month.
Iwelumo and Cureton have been under the spotlight, because of the number of goals that they have scored, while right-back Greg Halford has been attracting a lot of attention from a host of Premiership clubs, including West Ham, Sheffield United and Reading.
“It would be a massive blow if we were to lose Greg,” admitted Iwelumo. Greg has got it all.
“It's no surprise to me that a lot of clubs are interested in him, because he's a different class at this level. We all know what he brings to the team.
“Greg is technically unbelievable. He's great at coming forward, and he's maturing every year. Like all players, he has the ambition to better himself,” concluded Iwelumo.
Former Colchester United midfielder Bob Dale has died after a battle with cancer. Dale, who was aged 75, played 128 games for the U's between 1953 and '57.