We will rediscover form - Iwelumo

COLCHESTER United's leading marksman Chris Iwelumo is confident that both he and the team can end their barren spell, and steer their successful season back on track.

By Carl Marston

COLCHESTER United's leading marksman Chris Iwelumo is confident that both he and the team can end their barren spell, and steer their successful season back on track.

Both Iwelumo and his U's team-mates have failed to score in the last six matches, apart from an own goal netted by Chelsea defender Ricardo Carvalho in the FA Cup fifth-round defeat at Stamford Bridge.

This last lean month has seen Phil Parkinson's side slide from their lofty perch in League One. They now occupy the sixth and final play-off spot, after Brentford leapfrogged them into second position with a midweek win at Yeovil.

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The U's latest reverse was a narrow 1-0 defeat at Swansea City in the LDV Vans Trophy on Tuesday night. However, they still have a good chance of overturning this deficit in the second leg of the southern area final, to be played at Layer Road next Tuesday evening.

Furthermore, Parkinson's men produced a much-improved performance in south Wales, and Iwelumo could count himself unlucky to have a goal ruled out for offside in the first period.

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“I thought it was a perfectly good goal, which makes it very frustrating,” confirmed centre-forward Iwelumo.

“Things aren't quite going for us at the moment, but I remain confident in my own ability and I think that we will soon come through this difficult spell.

“The linesman had taken a bit of stick from the home fans, for not giving a couple of earlier offside decisions. That might have affected him when he raised his flag to rule out my goal. I connected well with the header, which is my job, and I felt that it was a goal.

“The goals have dried up just at the moment, but that will end. I'm continuing to get in good positions, and the chances are still coming my way, so I'm not too worried.

“It was a better performance at Swansea, especially following the disappointing display against Southend (3-0 home defeat). We worked hard for each other, and we won most of the second balls, which we failed to do last Saturday,” added Iwelumo.

Despite an indifferent last few weeks, former Stoke and Brighton striker Iwelumo has proved to be a big hit at Layer Road this season, following his arrival last summer.

The Scotsman has chalked up 16 goals, the 16th coinciding with the U's last victory - a 1-0 home win over Scunthorpe United on February 7.

For the U's to sustain their promotion push, that has stuttered of late, Iwelumo needs to rediscover his scoring touch. He will be disappointed not to break the 20-goal barrier by the end of the campaign.

“We have only had two lean spells all season, which is good,” continued Iwelumo.

“We were a bit up and down at the start of the season, when we struggled to get going (just one victory in the first eight games), but we then went on a fantastic run, winning virtually every game.

“Now we're going through a rough patch again. Yet we played better at Swansea, and it wasn't a bad result to lose the away leg by just one goal.

“We're in with a very good chance in the second leg,” added Iwelumo. The winners will play northern champions Carlisle in the LDV Vans Trophy final at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium.

Colchester's attention switches back to League One, and their bid for promotion, at Oldham Athletic tomorrow. The Latics are just one place behind the U's in seventh slot, although they are six points adrift.

Iwelumo said: “It's another big test at Oldham. But then all our final 12 league games are massive fixtures, regardless of who we're playing.

“Most of our rivals have also been slipping up, but in a way that just makes it more annoying, because it means that we've missed a chance to get into a strong position.

“Yet there's still a long way to go. We have 12 league games left, and we have two games in hand over most of our rivals. We must make them count,” concluded Iwelumo.

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