‘We could be set up for the rest of the season’, insists Colchester United keeper Sam Walker
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Sam Walker believes that Colchester United can be in a very strong position, by the end of the busy festive period.
The U’s have moved level points with Coventry City, who currently occupy the final play-off berth, following a superb run of just two defeats in their last 12 matches.
And keeper Walker is confident that the U’s can cement their position in the top seven over the next few weeks, starting with tomorrow night’s tricky test at play-off rivals Swindon Town, who are on the same number of points in eighth spot.
The U’s are at home to Port Vale on Saturday week, before going on the road to Crawley and Chesterfield between Christmas and New Year. All three of these clubs are in the bottom eight of the League Two table.
“You need your squad most over the Christmas period,” explained Walker, following yesterday’s training session.
“It’s a really busy period, and it’s an exciting period for us because there are lots of games where we can pick up points.
“Who knows where we will be at the end of that little period? We could be really well set up for the rest of the season.
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“We had a good spell this time last year as well.
“It seems a while ago that little spell, and we will be looking to replicate that sort of Christmas period we had last year – we had a very strong December and then carried that on into the new year.
“Obviously we have started that little run earlier this year, with the way we performed towards the end of September and during October.
“That stands us in good stead. Having only missed out on the play-offs by one point last season, we have started the run sooner this year and so hopefully will finish higher up the division,” added Walker.
The U’s bounced back from an unlucky 2-1 defeat at joint leaders Notts County, by powering to an impressive 3-1 home win over fourth-placed Exeter City last weekend.
They will certainly be going into tomorrow’s contest, at the County Ground, in a confident frame of mind.
“We hope to continue on from our good performance against Exeter,” confirmed Walker.
“It’s been a recurring theme for a couple of months now. We’ve been in really good shape, and our form has been very good.
“We are moving up the league and getting towards where we want to get to.
“Hopefully, that will continue on Friday night.
“It takes a little while for the league to really take shape, but Christmas is always an important period and that’s something we will be focusing in on.
“You can look at the league and see how tight it is. The bonus for us is that we are playing on Friday night before anyone else, so we can really stake a claim on those play-off places.”
A win for the U’s tomorrow night would see John McGreal’s rise to fifth in the table, before their other rivals go into their various matches on Saturday.
Unfortunately, key defender Ryan Inniss will miss out in Wiltshire, due to a sore shoulder incurred early in the second half of last weekend’s victory over the Grecians.
Inniss, who has been operating as a sweeper in a three-man back-line, will be sidelined for at least a couple of weeks, and so will also miss the following weekend’s home match against Port Vale, and perhaps the Boxing Day jaunt to Crawley.
“Ryan (Inniss) has been instrumental for us, “admitted Walker.
“He’s come in and done well. He himself has admitted that he probably hasn’t played many more than a run of 10 to 15 games in his short career so far.
“So it’s been really good for him. He has really taken to the club, and I think the club has taken to him. He’s slotted into the dressing room perfectly, and obviously on the pitch he’s been a leader and has played tremendously well for us.
“He will be a loss for us, but that is part-and-parcel of football, over the course of the season.
“Fortunately for us we have a good squad here. We train well together, day in and day out, and there are players chomping at the bit to have a chance to play, and stake a claim for a place in the side.
“Whoever the manager decides to bring in, hopefully he will do well for us.
“My role won’t change too much, and we will look to keep pretty much the same back three or five,” added Walker.
The U’s could switch to four-at-the-back tomorrow, although McGreal might be keen to stick with the three-man back-line that has been so effective in recent weeks.