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Season Preview 2019-20 11:22 - Jul 26 with 697 viewsdurham_exile

Colchester United start their fourth consecutive League Two campaign following the disappointment of an eighth-place finish last season following the infamous 87th minute equaliser for Newport County at Morecambe. Momentum is the key attribute in the play offs and Colchester would have been in pole position had they achieved that seventh-place finish.

The Final Table shows:
Played 46 Won 20 Drawn 10 Lost 16 GF 65 GA 42 GD +23 Points 70 Position 8th

Clearly last season is now forgotten, but note to JM, the defeats must be reduced and the goals for must be 20 greater if we are to achieve promotion this season.

The squad and their numbers so far assembled for the forthcoming season includes:

GOALKEEPERS
Ethan Ross 29
Dean Gerken 1
Bailey Vose

DEFENDERS
Ryan Jackson 2 – currently injured
Omar Sowunmi 6
Luke Prosser 5
Ryan Clampin 21
Cameron James 17
Ollie Kensdale 19
Tom Eastman 18
Kane Vincent-Young 22
Danny Collinge 41
Matthew Weaire
Dean Ager 34

MIDFIELD
Brandon Comley 14
Ben Stevenson 24
Courtney Senior 7
Noah Chilvers 27
Michael Fernandes 40
Tom Lapslie 4
Andre Hasanally 37
Luke Gambin 26
Louis Dunne 23
Jevani Brown 10
Paris Cowan-Hall 11
Harry Pell 8
Diaz Wright 16

STRIKERS
Frank Nouble 45
Luke “Chuck” Norris 9
Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe 20 (the forgotten man on loan at Derry)

New Additions this season include Omar Sowunmi from Yeovil, Danny Collinge, Matthew
Weaire, Andre Hasanally, Dean Gerken from Ipswich, highly regarded Luke Gambin from Luton, Jevani Brown from Cambridge for £310K, and Paris Cowan-Hall from Wycombe.

Amongst the departures include Sammie Szmodics to Bristol City for £750K, Frankie Kent to Peterborough for £360K, Brennan Dickenson to MK Dons, Dillon Barnes to QPR, Todd Miller to Brighton and Mika Mandron has now signed for Gillingham. Ironically, he has been playing for them in pre-season and has already scored twice including one from the penalty spot. I should make it clear from the outset that as much as I liked Mandron, he simply didn’t know where the goal was, perhaps Gillingham may get more from him.

Ryan Jackson’s injury has shown how much we rely on the full back and although triallist Jack Senior played against the Addicks on Tuesday evening, no additional full back has yet been signed.

Sadly, it is the strike force where we once again look very weak. A check on the statistics show that the last time a Colchester player scored more than 20 goals in one season was Jamie Cureton with24 in the first Championship season 2006/7.

In more recent times the situation is even more grim because the top goal scorer has only mustered the following returns:

2012/13 Ibehre, Sears 8 each
2013/14 Sears 12
2014/15 Sears 14
2015/16 Moncur 14
2016/17 Porter 16
2017/18 Szmodics 13
2018/19 Szmodics 15

I am not convinced that either Nouble or Norris will manage more than 10 each this season. When we played Oldham away last season Chuck Norris was virtually unplayable and enjoyed a rich vein of goalscoring form. After his injury he has never managed to recapture that form. His spectacular shot against the Addicks on Tuesday underlines the talent, but can we see this on a more regular basis. Equally Big Frank Nouble gets through an amazing amount of work and his commitment is not at fault, but he fails to convert enough chances.

Whilst it pains me to mention the Poorman Road side, they have invested in Norwood and Johnson; strikers who both demonstrated their goalscoring value to the team and both will do well in league one this season.

We currently have no one who is capable of scoring 20+ goals in a single season for the first team and I simply do not understand why JM doesn’t seek out a striker.

Perhaps he believes that the goals will come from the midfield through Pell, Stevenson, Senior, Gambin, Brown and Cowan-Hall, but they cant all play in the same starting XI.

It is also debatable whether JM has decided on his starting XI for Saturday 3rd August against Port Vale.

Sensibly he has used most of the squad in the friendlies, but he is unsure of a 4,4,2 formation or 4,2,3,1 or 3,4,3 or 3,5,2 mainly because of an unlucky injury to Ryan Jackson.

Goalkeeper seems to be between Gerken and Ross. I like Ethan Ross; he was simply brilliant at the end of last season in the key games against MK Dons and Lincoln City. His handling is assured, his kicking is accurate, and his shot stopping is sublime.

Dean Gerken’s arrival at the age of 34 and ten years after he left us for Bristol City, has put the cat amongst the pigeons. JM likes his favourites and is likely to make Gerken his number one. I disagree and would like to see Ross in that position.

The defence is clearly between a three or four formation dependent on Jackson’s availability.
If a three then Eastman, Sowunmi and Prosser look favourite but with two conventional full backs then Jackson and Vincent-Young would be complemented by either Eastman or Sowunmi or Prosser or James. Cameron James could be flexible enough to play left side at the back in a four man defence.

In Midfield Harry Pell, Ben Stevenson and Tom Lapslie would be automatic choices. However, we have an embarrassment of riches with Courtney Senior, Brandon Comley, Michael Fernandes, Andre Hasanally, Luke Gambin, and Noah Chilvers.

JM also must decide how he best deploys Jevani Brown and Paris Cowan-Hall. Best described as attacking midfielders, arguably Brown is the better player and must be played probably on the wing and possibly up front depending on whether a two- or three-man formation is utilised. Colchester show both as strikers but that is creative journalism and having seen both play, they are attacking midfielders rather than out and out strikers.

Worst case scenario away from home is the dreaded 4,5,1 and then either Norris or Nouble become isolated and fade badly.

Can JM utilise both strikers in a 4,4,2 or even a 3,4,3 with Brown as the third man (not Harry Lime though!).

Possible line ups: Option 1 - 3,4,3 (without Jackson)

Ross

Eastman Sowunmi Prosser

Vincent-Young Pell Stevenson Lapslie

Brown Norris Nouble

Option 2 - 4,4,2 (when Jackson is fit)

Gerken
Jackson Eastman Sowunmi Vincent-Young

Brown Pell Stevenson Gambin

Norris Nouble

Option 3 - 4,5,1 (Not recommended Norris becomes isolated)

Gerken

Jackson Eastman Prosser Vincent-Young

Brown Pell Stevenson Lapslie Gambin

Norris

Unless further signings arrive (and of course the transfer window extends until September), this is the squad that Colchester have assembled to get us out of this wretched league.

One final point concerning possible signings. He will cost, but Kane Hemmings from Notts County will supply the goals to fire us out of this league and he will bring competition to the forward line. Does he really want to play Conference football or an opportunity to play in North Essex and gain promotion to league one. Are Colchester prepared to spend another £300K for his services. Yes, let’s get it done.

So, let’s look at the opposition who are likely to be challenging for the other six play-off/promotion places. Perennial Play-Off failures Exeter City will be there or there abouts and Bradford and Plymouth two of the relegated sides look strong on paper. Mansfield Town and Swindon will not be far off the pace leaving newbie’s Salford City with more money than you can shake a stick at and more ex-premier league footballers behind the scenes and looking to emulate Tranmere Rovers, Fleetwood Town and others who have achieved promotion to league one. Two dark horses could be Scunthorpe and Leyton Orient whilst Stevenage are talking about automatic promotion. Seriously though this must be one of the weakest Leagues for some years.

Automatic promotion must be the aim this season, but the play offs at the very least. Can JM motivate the team to glory? We will see and soon.

Up the U’s

[Post edited 26 Jul 2019 16:06]

Durham_exile

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Season Preview 2019-20 on 15:22 - Jul 26 with 646 viewsLeadbelly

We look well short at full back and up front but no shortage of young wide players to cross the ball to whichever lone striker we employ.

It looks like a very unbalanced squad to me so unless McGreal becomes a tactical and motivational genius before 3 August I think a play off place is even less likely than last year.

Poll: Safe standing at football; yes, know or don't know?

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Season Preview 2019-20 on 16:48 - Jul 26 with 629 viewsPinault_Noir

Season Preview 2019-20 on 15:22 - Jul 26 by Leadbelly

We look well short at full back and up front but no shortage of young wide players to cross the ball to whichever lone striker we employ.

It looks like a very unbalanced squad to me so unless McGreal becomes a tactical and motivational genius before 3 August I think a play off place is even less likely than last year.


Yep, as I said on t'other thread Whalers I too fear a continuation of the slow decline this coming season. What I mean is that it's hard to see what has been changed to arrest it and thus it is difficult to anticipate a play off push.
Hope I am completely wrong but unlike Durham I also think that there are six or seven strongish, well led sides (Bradford, Oldham, Exeter, Plymouth, Northampton, Salford and Mansfield for example) who will compound our circumstances - last season I felt we were better equipped for them.

As I say, hope I'm wrong but not very confident this time. Another injury to Norris and we'll be in a pickle!
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Season Preview 2019-20 on 17:07 - Jul 26 with 616 viewsgerry_us

…"unless McGreal becomes a tactical and motivational genius before 3 August"

Pigs and flying comes to mind
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Season Preview 2019-20 on 17:27 - Jul 26 with 612 viewsLeadbelly

Season Preview 2019-20 on 17:07 - Jul 26 by gerry_us

…"unless McGreal becomes a tactical and motivational genius before 3 August"

Pigs and flying comes to mind


Unlikely to happen I accept but, playing Devil's advocate, I do think most managers would struggle to secure a play off place with that squad.

If the signings are all McGreal's choices then he only has himself to blame. If he has to work with what he's given then I will have some sympathy if it doesn't work. I really have no idea whether DoF identifies new signings or simply pursues those on a list he is given by McGreal.

Poll: Safe standing at football; yes, know or don't know?

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Season Preview 2019-20 on 19:11 - Jul 26 with 600 viewsdurham_exile

Season Preview 2019-20 on 17:27 - Jul 26 by Leadbelly

Unlikely to happen I accept but, playing Devil's advocate, I do think most managers would struggle to secure a play off place with that squad.

If the signings are all McGreal's choices then he only has himself to blame. If he has to work with what he's given then I will have some sympathy if it doesn't work. I really have no idea whether DoF identifies new signings or simply pursues those on a list he is given by McGreal.


Guys, I understand the concerns expressed about squad imbalance and I tried to give an impartial view in my preview.

My main concern which I bang on about ad nauseam is that of a lack of strike power.
JM seems content to let Junior continue his loan agreement in Ireland and it makes me think that having allowed Gondoh to leave after never allowing him a realistic run in the first team, he is equally blasé about Junior languishing in some meaningless Irish team.

I would have thought that given our paucity of strikers Junior would have been ideal to see whether he could fire the goals that we are so desperately short of.

Regarding your point LB concerning DoF and the Manager, it must be a joint decision as to who comes in.

I of course must remain optimistic especially as we haven't kicked a ball in anger yet, but the lack of strike power is serious if we are to get out of this league.

I'm not sure that JM has even decided on his starting XI for Port Vale.

UTU's

Durham_exile

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Season Preview 2019-20 on 22:10 - Jul 26 with 575 viewsGOSBTS

Did anyone listen to the latest Colchester Gazette podcast, with head of CUSA, about how the fans see the new season shaping up for us?
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Season Preview 2019-20 on 23:01 - Jul 26 with 572 viewsLeadbelly

Season Preview 2019-20 on 22:10 - Jul 26 by GOSBTS

Did anyone listen to the latest Colchester Gazette podcast, with head of CUSA, about how the fans see the new season shaping up for us?


No. What was the gist of it?

Poll: Safe standing at football; yes, know or don't know?

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Season Preview 2019-20 on 21:12 - Jul 28 with 472 viewsmfb_cufc

If you take the Ipswich result out of the equation I think most fans would say it was a solid pre-season, with the only defeat being an unlucky one against Championship Charlton. But the Ipswich humiliation seems top have pricked the optimism balloon. Yes that was a bad result, but mostly due to bad 25 minutes at the start of the second-half. Despite that result I still think our squad is as good as last season. Once McGreal finds the best way to use Brown I am sure he will turn out to be more effective than Szmodics. Gambin will offer more than Dickinson, and Gerken has to be a better keeper than last seasons efforts. Only time will tell if Sowunmi can fill the void left by Kent. I agree we need cover for the full backs, but hopefully that will be sorted before the window shuts. We could also do with another striker, but will a decent one only want to be a squad member? There are signs that Norris is back to the form of early last season before his injury, so he can be expected to beat his 8 goals of last season, if he avoids injury this time round. I think McGreal will be hoping to get plenty of goals from the likes of Brown, Cowan-Hall, Senior, Gambin and Pell. Also goals could come from youngsters Hasanally and Fernandes if they are given game time. With Junior due to return in November, I don't expect another striker to be signed. In conclusion, just like last season I think the squad is good enough to make at least the play-offs, just that the League does look stronger, and the biggest stumbling block being that McGreal is still in charge.

mfb

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Season Preview 2019-20 on 21:55 - Jul 28 with 460 viewsGOSBTS

Season Preview 2019-20 on 21:12 - Jul 28 by mfb_cufc

If you take the Ipswich result out of the equation I think most fans would say it was a solid pre-season, with the only defeat being an unlucky one against Championship Charlton. But the Ipswich humiliation seems top have pricked the optimism balloon. Yes that was a bad result, but mostly due to bad 25 minutes at the start of the second-half. Despite that result I still think our squad is as good as last season. Once McGreal finds the best way to use Brown I am sure he will turn out to be more effective than Szmodics. Gambin will offer more than Dickinson, and Gerken has to be a better keeper than last seasons efforts. Only time will tell if Sowunmi can fill the void left by Kent. I agree we need cover for the full backs, but hopefully that will be sorted before the window shuts. We could also do with another striker, but will a decent one only want to be a squad member? There are signs that Norris is back to the form of early last season before his injury, so he can be expected to beat his 8 goals of last season, if he avoids injury this time round. I think McGreal will be hoping to get plenty of goals from the likes of Brown, Cowan-Hall, Senior, Gambin and Pell. Also goals could come from youngsters Hasanally and Fernandes if they are given game time. With Junior due to return in November, I don't expect another striker to be signed. In conclusion, just like last season I think the squad is good enough to make at least the play-offs, just that the League does look stronger, and the biggest stumbling block being that McGreal is still in charge.


This was the positive angle that the Gazette podcast took, aside from the doubts about McGreal, as they seemed confident he's the right man for the job. They predicted at least a spot in the play offs, if not top three.

Other matters discussed in the podcast was an evaluation over the current system of selling on academy players and eschewing journeymen, the atmosphere at the Community Stadium and how to compete against Ipswich in terms of attracting fans to Col U rather than seeing them go further up the A12.
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