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Colchester Preview

19 January 2018

Michael White
Russell Slade

TOWN will look to put their recent woes behind them when they head to Colchester United afternoon, and boss Russell Slade will see now as good a time as any to get three points on the board.

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The Mariners have struggled in recent weeks after encouraging performances against Luton Town and Notts County just before the New Year, and the combination of letting in goals whilst struggling to score them will be something that Slade will be eager to put to rest, starting with the trip to the Colchester Community Stadium.

They take on a Colchester side that are three points off the play-offs in 11th place and are without a win in four league games themselves, so both sides will be doing their upmost to get three points on the board.

Matt in the reckoning, Dembele a doubt

Town received a huge boost earlier in the week when it was announced that striker Jamille Matt's three match ban for being sent off against Newport County has been overturned, so the forward will be looking to and could come into the starting eleven.

Siriki Dembele has been struggling with a back injury as of late and is a doubt for the fixture after missing two more days of training this week, but boss Russell Slade is hopeful that he will be fit for the trip to Essex.

Colchester were boosted in the week by the news that former Town loanee Brandon Comley has signed for the club on a permanent deal from Queens Park Rangers, so he is very likely to figure against his former side. 

U's captain Luke Prosser could make his first start of the season after returning from injury last time out, whilst defender, but defender Courtney Senior looks to set to miss out with a knee injury for the home side.

Colchester looking to build on last season 

Colchester narrowly missed out on the play-offs on the final day of last season after finishing in 8th place under boss John McGreal, and they are still well positioned to have a chance again but will be looking for improvement after a tricky last few weeks.

McGreal took over following their relegation from League One last summer and has built an exciting looking squad for this level, so he will be hoping that things come together in the second half of the season.

The U's main strength this season has been their firepower, with players like former Forest Green Rovers striker Kurtis Guthrie, talented youngster Sammie Szmodics and big target man Mikael Mandron all providing threats in their own way.

Goals have dried up in recent weeks however, and after consecutive 4-1 and 3-1 defeats to Cheltenham Town and Wycombe Wanderers, the Mariners will surely be expecting a response from a talented group of players.

A share of the spoils last time out 

The two sides last met back in September in a 2-2 draw at Blundell Park, where Town had to come from behind twice to get a point.

Winger Kyal Reid's early opener as quickly followed by a JJ Hooper strike before the former West Ham winger struck again.

With the points looking lost, the Mariners nicked a draw thanks to an 89th minute penalty from Sam Jones.

Town and Colchester have met 33 times over their history, with United winning 14 and Town winning 12 as well as seven draws.

Form guide

Colchester: LWWWDWDDLL


Managers in summary

Russell Slade: ''Everybody’s wanting to put it right. That’s the important thing, and whatever 11 we put out on Saturday, we’ll do everything we can to turn our fortunes around. It’s tough, it’s hard, but there’s a willingness to turn it around, and that’s the most important thing. 

''We’ve got some good types in the changing room. That will help because we don’t want confidence to slip away, we want to get back on it. I’ve been in the game long enough to know it can change so you work towards changing that, and that group of players is capable of turning it around, and we have to breed that confidence.

'' You’ve got to react in those situations, you’ve got to find a way through it, and I’m sure we will. We’re hopeful that we can turn it around as quickly as we can, and Saturday is the next opportunity to do that.''

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