“We have eight cup finals coming up” – Colchester United defender Tom Eastman

Tom Eastman wins a head against Oldham's Jonson Clarke-Harris, from earlier this season

Tom Eastman wins a head against Oldham's Jonson Clarke-Harris, from earlier this season - Credit: Su Anderson

At this time of the season, a 13-day break between games is far from ideal, especially when you are battling against relegation.

Colchester United are currently four points adrift of League One safety going into their final eight fixtures, although that deficit could even be extended to as many as seven points before they next kick a ball in anger.

The U’s next outing is away at mid-table Port Vale on Good Friday, April 3 – this Saturday’s scheduled home match against Swindon was postponed last week, because the Robins have four players away on international duty.

In the meantime, all of the U’s relegation rivals will have been in action at least once, or twice, including the likes of Crewe, Coventry (twice), Notts County, Scunthorpe, Leyton Orient (twice) and Crawley Town.

So Tony Humes’ men could really be facing down the barrel, with a must-win game on their hands, when they travel to the Potteries at the start of the Easter weekend.

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Furthermore, all this equates to nearly two weeks for the U’s to stew on the disappointment of their last appearance, when they leaked a 96th-minute equaliser in a 2-2 draw at Gillingham last weekend.

It is a fact not lost on cornerstone defender Tom Eastman, who once again produced a man-of-the-match display in the draw at Priestfield.

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“I was so frustrated after that game,” admitted Eastman.

“I thought we battled well and got the two goals.

“We definitely should have held on to the lead, and got the three points.

“Now we haven’t got another game for two weeks, so we have got a lot of time to put this behind us.

“The lads will no doubt dwell on the disappointment for a day or two, but then it’s up to us to get ready for some big games ahead.

“This break between games is a bit frustrating, because we’d like to keep up the good form.

“However, it’s also a chance for us to just rest up, and prepare ourselves for the important run-in.

“We have eight cup finals coming up, and we have to compete as we did at Gillingham in every one of them.

“It’s a big Easter ahead, with some tough games, including Port Vale away.

“In fact, it’s a tough time in general for us, but I’m sure if we battle like we did at Gillingham, until those last 30 seconds, then we can get enough points.”

Ex-Ipswich Town defender Eastman has been ever-present this season.

He has played in all 43 league and cup games, and so far not even missed a minute.

The 23-year-old is no stranger to relegation struggles, having successfully helped to steer the U’s away from the League One drop zone in the previous two campaigns.

And he remains confident about the outcome of this one.

“It’s how we react that matters,” continued Eastman.

“We’ve had so many disappointments this season, and we have managed to bounce back. I’m sure we will do again.”

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