‘We’re looking to put it right’ – Colchester United’s Frankie Kent
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Frankie Kent knows full well that Colchester United cannot afford any more “off-days,” if the U’s are to gate-crash the League Two play-offs this season.
John McGreal’s men dreadfully under-performed, during last Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at lowly Crewe Alexandra, which was the Railwaymen’s only win of their last eight fixtures.
And as a result of Exeter City’s last gasp 2-1 away win, at the aforementioned Crewe on Tuesday night, when the Grecians scored twice in the dying minutes to snatch all three points, the U’s are now five points adrift of the top seven.
There is still time to make up this lost ground – the U’s have 12 more games, with 36 points up for grabs – but too many more hiccups will leave them with too much to do, especially as most of the teams above them have a game or two in hand.
“We’ve got to be on it every single week,” admitted Kent, following yesterday’s training session at Florence Park, Tiptree.
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“We knew that we were not good enough last weekend.
“We have tried to put it right in training this week. We’ve had a tough training session today, and we’re looking to put it right.
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“Everyone of us has to keep on our toes, because we have a really good squad with good strength in depth.
“So we have to fight to keep our places in the team. It’s not just given to us.
“We’ve gone on some good runs this season, and it’s really important that we go on another unbeaten run now, with a decent number of wins to get us up into the play-offs,” added Kent.
The U’s have a fine home record this season, having lost just three of their 17 league matches at the Weston Homes Community Stadium.
And they will look to make a hat-trick of home victories, following the recent successes over Newport County (2-0) and Coventry City (2-1), when Graham Westley’s men visit tomorrow afternoon.
“We have been playing well at home. We’re in good form, and we like to play in front of our home fans,” confirmed Kent.
“I think our home fans have been great. They have played a massive part, and helped us to put in some good performances.
“In fact, we can’t ask for much more from our supporters, both home and away.
“We’ve won our last two at home, and we want to make it three in a row. Barnet are struggling, but we cannot afford to be complacent.
“It was a really tight game at their place (1-0 away win in mid-November), when we scored a late winner.
“They are fighting for something, as are we. They are fighting for their lives, we are fighting to get into the play-offs. We just want to get the job done.
“Obviously we want to keep the gap between ourselves and the top seven as small as possible, to make it easier for us during the last few weeks.”
The U’s only missed out on the play-offs by one place and one point in 2016-17, but Kent feels the current squad is better equipped to make the top seven this time around.
The 22-year-old centre-half added: “I feel we are stronger this time around, as compared to last season.
“I was injured at this time last season, but we’ve talked about it in the dressing room – we have a very similar number of points to last season, and we have more depth to our squad.
“We also have to play most of the teams from the top eight or nine in the table, which I think is in our favour because we tend to play better against the better teams.
“A few of the teams above us have a game or so in hand, but we are in control of our own destiny.”
Academy product Kent is closing in on 100 senior appearances – last weekend’s 1-0 defeat at Crewe was his 92nd in a U’s shirt, since making his debut on the final day of the 2013-14 season, away at Walsall on May 3, 2014.
He has managed to steer clear of major injuries this term, and is set to chalk up his 37th senior appearance of the campaign against the Bees, again almost certainly alongside Luke Prosser and Tom Eastman in a three-man back-line.
“My form has been OK of late,” said Kent.
“I feel that I’m playing OK. I’m trying to stay fit, but it’s very competitive with Ryan (Inniss) on the bench, and also Cole (Kpekawa) waiting in the wings.
“You have got to be on it every week, to keep your place, and we will all have to be ready for a very physical approach from Barnet this weekend. They will be in our faces,” concluded Kent.