‘We need to be on our mettle’ – Colchester United boss John McGreal ahead of Ipswich Town visit

U's new signing, Mikael Mandron, calling for the ball during the 3-0 win at Braintree on Saturday. M

U's new signing, Mikael Mandron, calling for the ball during the 3-0 win at Braintree on Saturday. Mandron should make his home debut against Ipswich tonight. Picture: STEVE WALLER - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Colchester United have won five games out of five, in pre-season, but boss John McGreal knows that the U’s will have to be on their “mettle” if they are to continue that trend at home to Ipswich Town tonight.

McGreal enjoyed five years as a player at Portman Road, rattling up 123 league games as a reliable centre-half between 1999 and 2004. He was initially recruited from Tranmere by then-Town manager George Burley, the ex-U’s boss (from 1994).

However, McGreal is now very much in the Colchester camp, and is looking forward to his second full season at the first-team helm, having graduated as a coach from the U’s Academy.

“This will be another good test for us, a tough game,” explained McGreal, ahead of Town’s visit.

“Like us, Ipswich have made a few quality signings, to go with the quality squad that they have already got. I really thank Mick (McCarthy) for coming across for the game and I think it’s going to be a good match.

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“We’ve got to be on our mettle, and try to stick to the habits that we have been forming over the last three-and-a-half weeks. We want to carry that momentum into Tuesday.

“I know we’ve had a god run of results, but we want to keep this healthy team spirit going. You can see that the (long-term) injured boys are nearly up to speed now.

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“The next two games coming up (Gillingham are the visitors on Friday evening), are going to be more competitive, and we’re looking for these boys to put in the extra work on the pitch.

“All the minutes are up, and me and (assistant) Steve (Ball) will get our heads together to select Tuesday’s team,” added McGreal.

- Five talking points from Colchester United’s win at Braintree

To date, the U’s have won friendlies away at Maldon & Tiptree, Needham Market, Welsh club Llandudno and Braintree, and at home to West Ham XI. They have yet to even concede a goal.

Centre forward Mikael Mandron made his U’s debut as a 60th minute substitute during Saturday’s 3-0 win at Braintree, and he should make his home debut tonight, along with fellow recent signing Cole Kpekawa.

McGreal explained: “Mikael has had a pre-season, so he’s different to Cole. Mikael has been training daily with the Wigan first team, just without the games. He is up to speed, but without the game-time. Cole has not trained as much.”

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