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Grecians in for hair raising experience at the JSCS
at 14:59 23 Feb 2021

Today is 23rd February 2021 and we find ourselves 20th in League Two.

On Saturday 7 March 2020 we won 3-0 at Carlisle (JM’s 200th game in charge of Colchester) before the shutters came down on the league season and that ensured we qualified for the play offs. On Tuesday 18 June we played Exeter City in the Semi-Final 1st Leg of the League Two play offs and won 1-0. The rest as they say is history or more properly a Stephen King horror story.

We bounced around the top seven for a while this season and last won a game of football on Tuesday 8 December 2020. Since then, we have gone 12 games without a victory. The result is we are now in a relegation battle. Will it be lucky 13 tonight?

Mansfield 28 34 -2
PV 29 33 -3
COL U 28 33 -7
Stevenage 30 33 -7
Southend 29 24 -27
Barrow 27 23 -7
Grimsby 27 21 -26

Along with others I have called for SB to go. He simply is not a manager/ head coach, and he seems clueless about what is his best team, tactics to employ and how to get the best out of his players.

Let us look at our last game at Crawley:

He started:

Gerken
Welch-Hayes Sowunmi Eastman Smith
Pell Stevenson
Harriott Poku Nouble
Oteh

Subs:
Chilvers
Wiredu
Folivi
Brown
Senior
George
Tchamadeu

Pell was injured (again) on 32 minutes and Wiredu replaced him.
Chilvers replaced Poku on 67 mins and Brown replaced Oteh on 67 mins
Finally, Folivi replaced Harriott on 89 mins.

And this is SB’s problem, he does not play a settled team, he changes the line up every game, he refuses to play more than one striker and he has ruined our best striker Jevani Brown by leaving him as the lone striker and then dropping him and publicly stating he has to show more application no wonder Brown is pi**ed off.

We have two left backs in Clampin and Doherty; we were told a fully fit squad so why did they not feature on Saturday. Playing three Central Defenders at the back in a four is disjointed, SB has tried three at the back before and it did not work, he has tried 5 at the back and it was disastrous.

Play a flat back four and three in midfield and three up front. Be bold and constructive and take the game to the opposition.

Once again, I suggest tonight and for the foreseeable future 4,3,3:

Gerken

Welch-Hayes Eastman Smith Clampin

Lapslie Stevenson Wiredu

Harriott Brown Nouble

Subs:

George Sowunmi Chilvers Oteh Folivi Tovide Poku

Pell is injured, we do not know about Cowan-Hall and Senior must stay on the bench. When Pell is fit he can play alongside Ben Stevenson.

We have 18 games to garner 20 points for survival.

It is all about survival now. Relegation is unthinkable. SB’s job is safer than Klopp’s regrettable but true.

Survival will be good enough after such a shocking year. I would imagine that JM will be smiling. What did he do wrong, perhaps he spoke out about losing five key players? What the Chairman must do is stop internal appointments. Whether people like the situation or not Parky must be invited to return and he might if we survive. He knows about promotion and can get this team back to League One.

I have not even mentioned Exeter City yet. The result at St James’ Park was a disaster and they have the Indian sign over us at present. Matt Taylor plays a simple game always 3,5,2 and it is effective.

But tonight, they have no Ryan Bowman (our nemesis) who was dismissed at Newport together with Alex Hartridge, the nine men managed to grind out a 1-1- draw. It is that type of application and effort that we must start to show before it is too late.

The weather tonight in Colchester will be dry, mostly clear and 11 degrees c. Ideal for the match.

Can we achieve that elusive win? Yes, I believe so. Can we manage a clean sheet, yes, we can but only if we play the game in their half? Sitting back and encouraging the opposition on is not the answer.

Try and enjoy the game.

2-0 Colchester

Up the U’s

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The Chairman's latest missive
at 14:36 22 Feb 2021

https://www.cu-fc.com/news/2021/february/robbie-statement/

I have to say I'm getting rather blase about these statements. We are now firmly involved in a relegation scrap and the only priority is to avoid the unthinkable.

Humes and Ball out.

Up the U's

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11th time lucky for super U's at the People's Pension Stadium
at 12:11 20 Feb 2021

"If it wasn't for a really disappointing couple of goals on Sunday, then we win the game." - Steve Ball

A bizarre quote and one that sums up the Head Coach, confused, unclear and lacking in credibility.

Anyway, I promised myself that I would not be too negative in my preview today. So, let us dwell on the positives.

So instead of saying that we have not won for 11 games, let us say that we have 5 draws out of the last 7 games. Also, those draws have been against Mansfield, Orient, Stevenage, Cambridge, and Cheltenham all teams that have been on decent runs or are well placed in the table.

Cambridge 29 49

Oldham 27 34
COL U 27 33
PV 28 32
Scunny 26 32
Stevenage 29 32
Southend 28 34
Barrow 26 23
Grimsby 27 21

The return of Big Frank has been a massive boost for the squad. His goal against Mansfield was masterful and Brendan Wiredu is also a very useful addition to the squad.

In Pell, Stevenson, Wiredu, Lapslie, and Chilvers we have a very effective midfield, but SB is not able to play them all in the same side.

Harriott, Brown and Nouble must play preferably together and upfront.

In defence Welch-Hayes, Eastman, Smith and Clampin look the best four with Doherty left back and Junior Tchamadeu right back cover and utility player Sowunmi who can play in a number of positions.

Then we have Gerken and George as Goalkeepers. I bitterly regret the loss of Ethan Ross who would make a superb number one, but that ship has sailed.

We have to mention Courtney Senior (now with 137 appearances and 14 goals though nothing this year). He has regressed massively and should spend time on the bench and in the U23s to see whether he can recreate the promise that he initially showed at the club. I want the lad to do well, but when a side is struggling, and we are, then there is no room for passengers.

Poku is an enigma. He can be brilliant, last season at Salford was his best game ever in a U’s shirt, but he fails to strike that form on a regular basis.

Paris Cowan-Hall is the forgotten man, he was outstanding against Spurs and kept Son in his pocket all game. I know that he has been injured but SB has ignored him. Versatile he can play defence, midfield, or even up front. What is going on here?

Marley Marshal-Miranda is often on the bench and plays midfield, but I do not know enough about him to make a qualified judgement.

Then the two imponderables Josh Bohui and Michael Folivi. SB does not use them to best effect and in fact they are very much on the periphery of the team.

Samson Tovide is the player that excites me. Young, untried but plenty of potential. Get him into the team soon even as the famous 8-minute substitute.

Quite frankly these players should not be 18th in the league. The fact that they are is down more to crass stupidity from SB rather than failings on their part.

There have been too many 4,6,0 or 4,5,1-line ups where a lone striker is isolated or exposed to two or three defenders and marked out of the game.

Many people have made this season one of survival. That frankly is rubbish. We wasted a golden opportunity with the FA Cup to make 250K and that set the standard of indifference and incompetence.

Four teams will be promoted and two relegated, it is that simple. Barring miracles, we have lost any chance of promotion and so we are in a relegation scrap. Ultimately Barrow and Grimsby will go down (Southend will escape) but in 18th place, we are too close for comfort.

Victory today could see us rise to the dizzy heights of 12th in the table. That is simply not good enough. We have 19 games to play and we still need 20 points to be mathematically safe. 40 points would see an unlikely top seven position but let us be realistic 40 points from 19 games is not going to happen. 5 successive failures to get out of the basement league that is poor by any standard. Yes, no team has a divine right to promotion, but we are advancing backwards under the current regime.

Tony Ashby has left the club this week and the silence has been deafening. Will he be replaced as a Director of the Club?

Hayden Mullins joined the club with a pedigree of knowledge and experience, is he actually allowed to get involved at any stage.

50 years since that game against Leeds and 15 years since Parky took us to the promised land.

2021 is looking like our lowest position finish since we went out of the league. A grim prospect.

As a man who is of the glass half full persuasion, I am looking for the positives and today we must look to win the game at the 12th attempt. A clean sheet must be the aim and then to score a priceless away goal to win the match.

I would look to start with the following XI:

Gerken

Welch-Hayes Eastman Smith Clampin

Stevenson Pell Lapslie

Harriott Brown Nouble

Subs:
George Sowunmi Doherty Wiredu Folivi Oteh Chilvers

Sadly, I will be wrong in my selection, but that is why SB is the Head Coach and me simply a supporter.

Weather in Crawley West Sussex 14 degrees Celsius and dry with sunny intervals. Almost sub-tropical in fact.

Colchester to win by 1-0 with Jevani Brown restored to the team getting the all-important winner. He should not have been dropped in the first place.

I have spent £250 on games this season with three “free games” after winning weekly codes. At least I have watched every game and would have already spent more actually attending about 12 games when travelling expenses and game day spend is considered.
Of course I have also spent £120 on club merchandise this season.

Come on the U’s give me and the rest of the faithful something to cheer today.

Enjoy the game.

Up the U’s


[Post edited 20 Feb 13:12]
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Jevani Brown matters and other issues affecting COL U
at 15:27 15 Feb 2021

SB reckons that JB must work hard to get back into the matchday squad. Really!!!!

Clearly Jevani must reach the heady standards of Courtney Senior before he is allowed back. SB is clueless.

Jevani Brown was performing brilliantly as the Strikeforce early in the season; goals were coming easily to him and he had made the adjustment from Number 10 to Number 9.

In those early days he had support, was given service and looked sharp and full of running. Then after mid November SB picked defensive teams that relied on breakaways and gave JB no service, no support and expected him to compete against two or three defenders who had worked out our game plan.

We brought in Michael Folivi who looked like the perfect partner for Brown, both are pacy and have skill and know where the goal is. SB didn't play the two together and instead isolated Brown who grew more and more dissatisfied.

Unsurprisingly the goals dried up, the results suffered and I suspect JB is the type of player who is not afraid to express his opinion.

Until SB gets him back intop the team to play with Harriott and Nouble as a front three we will struggle.

The return of Frank Nouble was the best bit of business in the transfer window and proved that those of us who decried the decision to offload four of our best players at the end of the sesaon wa sthe wrong move.

Big Frank and Jevani Brown would have scored the goals that would have kept us sniffing around the top seven instead of stagnating in 18th position and skirting with the relegation teams.

Ainsley Harriott is cooking up some of his best football at present and looks like scoring every game. He is also the only one prepared to shoot from outside the box.

On Sunday SB had a full squad to call upon and so should have picked his best starting XI.

Leaving out Brown, Cowan-Hall, Stevenson, Wiredu and Chilvers suggests that he unfortunately has no clue as to his best team.

Senior must be dropped and spend some time on the sidelines working out whether he is prepared to play as a team player or whether he will continue as a passenger.

Oh and Ethan Ross is plying his trade on loan at Weymouth after he warmed the bench at Lincoln - what an absolute waste of a very talented Goal Keeper. It is criminal. Another bit of bad business from the Colchester management.

SB needs to play the following on Saturday in a 4,3,3

Gerken

Welch-Hayes Eastman Smith Clampin

Stevenson Pell Wiredu

Harriott Brown Nouble

Ball and Humes out.

Up the U's
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Simply must win today
at 14:20 14 Feb 2021

Short and sweet pitch looks ok

Gerken
Welch-Hayes Eastman Smith Doherty
Pell Stevenson Wiredu
Harriott Brown Nouble

Up the U's
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Results - False positives
at 23:56 9 Feb 2021

Salford 4 Cambridge 1
Newport 0 Southend 1

Walsall 1 Mansfield 1

It really is time that we won a game.
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Dirty Old Town and three vital points for the U's
at 17:28 2 Feb 2021

SB takes his charges to Salford this evening for a game against the Ammies at the Peninsula Stadium. This will be our tenth game since our last victory and much has happened this week. Cohen Bramall has moved on to Lincoln City for an undisclosed sum, which is both disappointing and not exactly unexpected given that he was out of contract in the summer.

Admittedly he has not been at the races this season but then who has for the Super U’s. Still expect him to be one of the Imps top performers as they chase Championship football.

Yesterday saw some frantic transfer action with Big Frank Nouble returning from Plymouth Argyle on loan where he has been struggling to get into the team after a bright start to the season. Brendan Wiredu arrived on an 18-month deal from Charlton and Josh Doherty on loan from Crawley.

Controversially seven of the U’s youngsters were let go including Fernandes, Kensdale and Scarlett. Opinion is divided as to the reasoning for their departure. I am surprised that investment made into the U’s academy is so easily discarded and we wish them well for the future. The football league is littered with former Colchester players and academy products. I appreciate that not every player is going to necessarily make the first team, but our club is facing a crisis of confidence at present and such clear outs do nothing for morale.

Macca Bonne played for QPR last night and should have scored but he is at least plying his trade in the Championship. Ian Henderson is proving his worth at Salford City and will be a handful tonight.

Richie Wellens side will prove problematic for a dispirited U’s team, but the arrival of Big Frank will at least warm up the forward line which had become absolute zero temperature!

Personally, I would play all three tonight and it will really give the team a lift.

Gerken

Welch-Hayes Eastman Smith Doherty

Chilvers Wiredu Poku

Harriott Brown Nouble

Subs:

George Sowunmi Clampin Lapslie Marshall-Miranda Folivi Oteh

Last season the weather at Salford was not dissimilar to what it will be tonight, and we prevailed with a wonder individual goal from Kwame Poku and Ainsley Harriott cooked up a feast of a goal too.

A similar result tonight is what is required ahead of the Orient game at the weekend.
Weather tonight will be 8 degrees Celsius but rain with 90% precipitation.

It has not stopped snowing all day in Durham and it looks like more tonight so the players will be very wet at the Peninsula Stadium.

Enjoy the game. 2-1 to the U’s with Big Frank and Jevani Brown finding the net.

Up the U’s


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Any old Iron tonight and three valuable points is a must!
at 17:16 29 Jan 2021

Like many of you I receive a weekly newsletter from our club.

Never mind the content this week, the photograph of SB is shocking, he cuts a forlorn figure and said photo hardly inspires confidence or any suggestion that you would follow him over the top from the trenches or anywhere else for that matter. Come on sort it out!

After the dire result at Stevenage on Tuesday night we simply have to gain three points against a resurgent Scunny team tonight at the JSCS.

The table, bottom half looks bleak:

COLU 24 31
Oldham 25 31
PV 26 29
Scunny 25 29
Bradford 23 28
Bolton 24 28
Harrogate 24 27
Barrow 23 23
Stevenage 23 22
Grimsby 25 21
Southend 25 20

Even more good news (written with heavy irony): after Reading from the Championship appear to have lost interest in signing Cohen Bramall I read today that Lincoln City are sniffing around. Now I know that Cohen is out of contract at the end of the season, but are we seriously looking to lose one of our better players for a song to a League One outfit when frankly we do not need to sell him. What would they pay, no more than £50K I suspect, they should be told to foxtrot oscar.

I think even the most optimistic supporter (and I would like to consider myself to be one of the glass half full brigade) must be thinking that the promotion dream is virtually over for yet another season. Unless we can start to turn results around.

Salford and Orient Away are our next two fixtures and given the shocking performances away from home we need the three points tonight to bolster our position and to offer some hope to the faithful.

Can SB be persuaded to start with two strikers, playing Jevani Brown as the lone attacker is destroying him and it is little wonder that the goals have dried up.

No messing about tonight, play 4,4,2 and go for it from the start:

Gerken

Welch-Hayes Eastman Smith Bramall

Poku Chilvers Stevenson Harriott

Brown Oteh

Subs:

George Sowunmi Marshall-Miranda Folivi Bohui Tovide Senior

Over the half way point now and if we are to creep into the top seven, we would need 73 points making it another 42 points required from 22 games – a salutary reminder of just how far we have fallen over the last 9 games.

Enough of this, the weather tonight is mild, 8 degrees Celsius and cloudy. For once no rain. Hopefully, the pitch will be better than the last home match against Cambridge.

If SB is positive and plays two strikers, then I reckon we can prevail 3-0. Anything else and I fear for the result.

We signed Aramide Oteh, get him on from the start and play him alongside Jevani Brown.

Try and enjoy the game.

Up the U’s


[Post edited 29 Jan 17:51]
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First win in 8 attempts tonight at the Lamex for COL U
at 17:21 26 Jan 2021

The sorry record now is seven games without a win after defeat at Morecambe on Saturday. However, it should have been vastly different after a first half full of promise with Harriott and Smith striking the woodwork.

The goal just before half time changed the complexion of the game and by the time we were two goals adrift and chasing the game, Harry Pell had a moment of madness. There was nothing wrong with his initial challenge but his follow up suggestion of a head butt, even though he made no contact with the Shrimper defender, who clearly was RADA trained, allowed the referee to reach for his red card. Result game over and we now lose Pell’s services for the next three games.

That sign of ill discipline underpins the frustration within the team at present. The pressure is on to produce results, but SB never plays the same team twice and this is part of the problem. I cannot believe that training varies that much that it is necessary to constantly change the team format and formation.

Saturday was a case in point. Much has been made of the new signing Aramide Oteh to replace Chuck Norris but then what happens, he gets only a few second half minutes and barely touched the ball.

This evening at 7pm the Lamex Stadium awaits followed by Scunny at Home. Frankly even a team so out of form as Colchester should be looking for six points from thee two games.

Of course, it is the Colchester old boys led by Alex Revell with Ben Coker, Luke Prosser, and Chuck that we face this evening. This has to be a victory if we are to seriously think about the play offs this season (the top three has already long gone). I am furious that we are still talking about a season of consolidation (Cambridge, Newport, Carlisle, and Salford would laugh in your face if they heard that tosh.

The trouble is we wasted a golden chance to swell the coffers by £250K this season after defeat to Marine and seven defeats have dropped us to 15th in the table.
In order to reinforce the point lets have a look at the bottom of the table starting at 15th:

Cambridge 24 42 TOP

Col U 23 30
PV 25 29
Bolton 25 29
Harrogate 23 27
Scunny 24 26
Bradford 22 25
Barrow 23 23
Stevenage 22 21
Grimsby 25 21
Southend 24 20 Bottom

This puts things into context and shows what a wretched season we are having.

So how does SB address this:

First - play a settled team and the best team with a 4,4,2 or 4,3,3 formation.
Secondly - return to a flat back four.
Third - ensure that the midfield contains Stevenson, Chilvers and when back from suspension Pell and give them licence to shoot from distance.
Fourth – stop the nonsense of a single striker this is destroying Brown’s confidence and negating his ability.
Fifth – Keep Senior on the sidelines or loan him to a National League team by 1 Feb 21.
Sixth – If it is true that the team are dancing to Tony Humes tune ( a failed manager) reduce his influence on the squad and starting XI. Better still get rid of the Director of Football post.
Seventh – We brought in Hayden Mullins with a top pedigree but what is he actually doing?
Eighth – Why is Paris Cowan-Hall never given an opportunity to play.
Ninth – Stop playing out from the back and instead get the ball forward quicker.
Ten – Start to play with passion, commitment and demonstrate why we can defeat any team in this league.

Try this starting line-up tonight:

Gerken

Welch-Hayes Eastman Smith Bramall

Chilvers Stevenson Poku

Harriott Oteh Brown

Subs:

George Marshall-Miranda Clampin Folivi Bohui Sowunmi Tovide

The frustration is not just felt amongst the players. The supporters are feeling the pain too. I have watched every game this season (all 23 league matches via iFollow) as many others have done also on this board and it makes for difficult viewing at present.

The weather in Stevenage is wet and 4 degrees Celsius.

The fightback starts tonight. Three points and hopefully three goals.

Up the U’s


[Post edited 26 Jan 17:21]
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Colchester to prevail at the Mazuma
at 20:38 22 Jan 2021

After an improved performance against Cambridge last weekend SB takes his charges to the Mazuma Stadium Morecambe on Saturday. Without a win in 6 games now it is time to secure another Away win and to begin to determine whether we are serious promotion candidates or not.

After Chuck Norris was allowed to leave to join Stevenage and Luke Gambin was loaned to Newport County, we have secured the services on loan of QPR striker Aramide Oteh who will take the Number 9 shirt.

Morecambe gave us a caning at the JSCS when winning 2-1 a few weeks ago. They looked a better team than everyone that I have watched this season except perhaps Carlisle United.

Our next games after tomorrow are:

Stevenage A
Scunny H
Salford A
Orient A

Our away record frankly is appalling this season and we simply have to start securing away points or we can look forward to another League Two campaign next year and of course we will lose even more of our promising players.

Morecambe have just signed on emergency loan a keeper from Reading who is Jokull Andresson. They will be no pushovers tomorrow and we need to start strong and take the game to them.

Now I simply do not know about the fitness of Folivi or Cowan-Hall or Welch-Hayes. Why do Colchester never divulge details of team fitness? It gives no advantage to the opposition at League Two level and makes no difference to team tactics, but the team will have been training during the week and must have an idea of who will be playing where and whether our new signing will be pitched straight into the fray as Centre Forward.

Now the club have made a mistake in letting Gambin go on loan (he will never play for us again I suspect) and if Newport don not sign him at the end of the season he will drift away perhaps to Stevenage. Everybody else seems to after all.

Courtney Senior should have gone on loan, perhaps to a National League club where he can toughen up. His challenges are weak, and he does not track back sufficiently well. He loses the ball with frustrating monotony and I have not seen him advance as a player this season rather he has regressed. Sorry, but that is the way it is and although the current management do not share those views, can anyone really say that he adds anything constructive to the team.

Now we have invested in Oteh so lets play him from the start tomorrow.

If Welch-Hayes is fit, then he should start at right back and the team should revert to a back four.

SB actually played the best midfield trio last week and they should also play at Morecambe.

Jevani Brown should revert to the Number 10 position and if fit Ainsley Harriott should play as the wide player. Aramide Oteh would make up the team.

So, play 4,3,2,1 as follows:

Gerken

Welch-Hayes Eastman Smith Bramall

Pell Stevenson Chilvers

Brown Harriott

Oteh

Subs:

George Poku Clampin Tchamadeu Sowunmi Tovide Bohui

Tom Lapslie is unfit again. That leaves Cowan-Hall and Folivi unaccounted for (both of whom would have a place in my team, but their fitness levels are not known). Courtney Senior should be dropped. SB please do so, after all the world is not going to end if you do and he needs to take a long hard look at himself and decide what he can bring to the team, where he is going to play and what advantages there are in playing him.

I think that although pacy and tricky, he is lightweight and does not contribute goals or creates goal scoring opportunities.

Play Oteh as the (lone) striker with Brown for support and Harriott who creates opportunities and is not afraid to shoot. Cohen Bramall is long overdue a goal and one of his trade mark free kicks is overdue.

Do not be afraid to bring Samson Tovide on either. He may spring a surprise and the opposition will know nothing about him.

The weather is going to be 3 degrees Celsius and partly sunny which will be a welcome change after the rain, sleet, and snow which we have had this week. The pitch will be heavy, and this is another reason not to play Senior.

Table:

Cambridge 24 41
Newport 22 40
Carlisle 21 39
Salford 24 38
FGR 23 38
Cheltenham 23 37
Orient 23 36
Morecambe 22 35
Crawley 22 34
Exeter 21 33
Tranmere 22 32
Walsall 24 32
COL U 22 30

The table is not entirely accurate because of the games that some teams have in hand but the top four look strong and will not be a million miles away come the end of the season. We must make up 6 points just to get into the top seven.

Enjoy the game.

Score - 1-0 to Colchester with a debut goal from Oteh (if he gets the full 90 minutes).

Up the U’s

SB out

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Never mind the excuses we need to win today any win will do!
at 12:48 16 Jan 2021

Happy New Year. The vaccine is being administered to the most vulnerable and to date more than 3.5m doses have been given within the UK. At last, some encouraging news to combat this shocking COVID virus.

And of course, Colchester are unbeaten this year (we have not played a game yet!).

Today a local derby against Cambridge United, which will go a long way to determining how serious we are about challenging for any form of promotion this year.

A victory after 5 winless games is vital especially as we have slumped to 13th in the table.

Carlisle 21 39
Newport 20 38
Cambridge 22 37
FGR 21 37
Salford 22 36
Cheltenham 21 35
Crawley 22 34
Morecambe 20 34
Orient 22 33
Exeter 20 32
Walsall 22 30
Mansfield 23 29
COL U 21 39

Carlisle were exceptionally good when we played them at Brunton Park, Newport were fluky against us, Morecambe slaughtered us 2-1, Exeter are our bogey team, and Cambridge beat us when we should have drawn. Losing to Scummend was a disgrace.

Performances recently have been poor, no woeful. There has been no passion, no commitment, no effort, and no confidence. We were abysmal against Marine and that has cost us £250K this season in lost revenue.

Our real slump started at the Abbey Stadium and then we lost to an exceptionally good Morecambe side, we lost to relegation certainties Scummend and then clung on to draw with Cheltenham. Am I being too harsh, no definitely not? A lot of rubbish has been spoken this year about it will be a good season just to survive. The league is the weakest for years and however bad the finances may or may not be four teams will still be promoted. Why should it not be Colchester in the top seven mix.

Stevenage continue to be the Colchester B team with Chuck Norris the latest to depart to the Hertfordshire side. We wish him well. We could lose Cohen Bramall as well and that would be a disaster. He is valued at £225K and a decision will have to be made soon because he can leave at the end of the season for free. But would he go if we could guarantee League One football for him come August?

Certainly, there is no movement in to the club. A striker is definitely required. Kurtis Guthrie has moved to Port Vale, but he would not have returned to the JSCS under any circumstances. We do not want Sears back; he is past his best. We want a decent striker preferably 6ft plus and a physical presence, but they are not queuing up to come and in truth availability of such players is slim.

A new manager is also required but that is also not going to happen. SB has no clue when it comes to tactics involving strikers and after the success of Jevani Brown as a make shift number 9 other teams have found out the perfect way to stop him and we have given him no service whatsoever in recent games.

The injury to Harry Pell has restricted our midfield options, but he should be back today. SB does not know his best XI and his obsession with playing Courtney Senior is bizarre in the extreme. Given our squad I would play 4,3,3 today and make that a genuine 3 up front.

Dependent on fitness I would go with.

Gerken

Welch-Hayes Eastman Smith Bramall

Pell Stevenson Chilvers

Folivi Brown Harriott

Subs:

George Senior Lapslie Cowan-Hall Bohui Tchamadeu Tovide

We have had three weeks on the training ground to get the tactics right and to prepare for this game.

Stop the playing out from the back, which puts our defence under pressure, get the ball forward quickly and look to play the ball to the feet of our strikers, Brown and Folivi. When fit Harriott is our most skilful attacker and can deliver a decent cross plus he is not afraid to hit the ball from outside the box.

If SB is bold and the midfield is fit then Pell, Stevenson and Chilvers offer a combination of passing, intervention and linking up with the strikers.

Give Brown support from Folivi and play them as a genuine partnership. After all we cannot do any worse that we have been doing. But SB must be bold, adventurous, and confident.

Weather is 4 degrees Celsius and showery in Colchester. It is dry in Durham, but the view is seasonal with lying snow after two days of the white stuff.

Let us hope that the players can turn things around and deliver three points today. The supporters deserve it and after a miserable spell without any joy we are overdue a victory.

Try and enjoy the game.

2-1 Colchester (Brown and Bramall)

Up the U’s


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Big Sam is a Don
at 21:03 12 Jan 2021

Big Sam has moved to Wimbledon on loan until the end of the season.

Frankly his career has stalled since his ill fated move to the Royals.

Good luck to him

Up the U's
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The exodus continues......................
at 22:24 9 Jan 2021

Reading are preparing to sign Cohen Bramall.

Rather than lose him on a free in the summer, Colchester will look for a fee now.

OK so we have cover in the form of Ryan Clampin, but Bramall is one of our Crown Jewels.

Ben Stevenson must now stay at the club. But we are showing little inclination to push for promotion. In fact Scummend are now only 10 points behind us after another win for our Essex fiends.

Depressing times indeed at the JSCS.

Up what left of the U's

Ball OUT
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Southend to be overrun by the Super U's in Boxing Day encounter
at 11:58 26 Dec 2020

For the first time this season SB and his charges are under real pressure. As Gerry put it “pier” pressure as they make the short journey to Roots Hall to play the Shrimpers at 1pm.

Pressure because they face the prospect of three successive defeats and to lose even more ground in the promotion race.

Losing to Cambridge was bad enough albeit a game that we deserved to secure a draw, but we were woeful against Morecambe and if it possible to be thrashed 2-1 then we were most certainly thrashed.

Those games have gone and has the 6-1 thrashing of the Shrimpers earlier in the season. Boxing Day is all about three crucial league points, bragging rights and attempting to drop Southend closer to the trapdoor of relegation.

Incredibly the last time I went to Roots Hall was Boxing Day 1989 and we won 2-0 that day. Yes, I have been to many derby matches at home but 1989 was the last Away game. My abiding memory that day was many of the Southend faithful hurling their seat cushions onto the pitch at full time.

Anyway, today is all about an Away victory.

1. Newport 19 37
2. FGR 19 36
3. Carlisle 19 35
4. Cheltenham 19 33
5. Morecambe 19 31
6. Exeter 18 30
7. Salford 18 30
8. Walsall 19 30
9. Cambridge 18 28
10. COL U 19 28

24. Southend 18 13

SB must be decisive and brave in his team selection and tactics. Frankly, he has been inept and unconvincing in both for many games this season. Carlisle and Morecambe have been the best two teams that I have seen against the U’s this season. It is vital therefore that the defeats are stopped before more points are haemorrhaged, and we slide further down the League Two table.

This is our fifth season in League Two and if we are to get out of the basement league then three points against our nearest geographical rivals is essential.

But what team does he play. Well, it must be two strikers and two or even three bespoke midfielders. After all Tom Lapslie is available after his long injury lay off. Defence must revert to Welch-Hayes at full back.

So, I would go with 4,3,3

Gerken

Welch-Hayes Eastman Smith Bramall

Chilvers Stevenson Lapslie

Harriott Brown Folivi

Subs:
Tchamadeu
Sowunmi
Norris
Clampin
Gambin
George
Senior

But SB will play instead:

Gerken
Welch-Hayes Eastman Smith Bramall
Stevenson Chilvers
Harriott Folivi Senior
Brown

Subtle changes but important in the scheme of things.

Mark Molesley has John White and Greg Halford available for selection in a team that has started to play a bit. Two draws and two wins in the last four games.

The pitch will be heavy, but the weather will be cloudy and a mild 10 degrees Celsius.

Enjoy the game.

3-0 to the U’s today.

Up the U’s


[Post edited 26 Dec 2020 12:02]
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Shrimpers to be potted by the Super U's at the JSCS
at 13:13 19 Dec 2020

After three successive Away games where we won one, drew one and lost one, the U’s return to the JSCS to welcome Morecambe under the guidance of Derek Adams. The Shrimpers are having a good season and have won three out of the last four games (Orient 2-1, Harrogate 1-0, and Barrow 1-0). The only defeat 2-1 at Newport.

Now courtesy of IFollow I have seen every league this season (as many on this board will have done also) and I have not been afraid to criticise SB for his one-dimensional tactics, but on Tuesday evening we should have secured a point at the Abbey Stadium. Cambridge wasted so much time second half and yet only 5 minutes was added on despite the number of substitutes utilised, plus that timewasting. We tried for one opportunity late into the game, but it did not come.

Of course, SB played defensively from the outset which is his biggest failing as a manager. Have confidence in the team to deliver the goods and let them express themselves. When we attack, we are dangerous, but this defensive passing back and sideways plus packing the defence and midfield with players who are often being played out of position is plain wrong.

Luke Gambin is a case in point. We signed him after he had singlehandedly defeated the U’s and scored two long range goals. When did he last have a shot at goal? Why play him in the midfield alongside Ben Stevenson when Noah Chilvers should be there. It is unfair on the player and frustrating for the spectators.

On Tuesday evening SB at last played Brown and Folivi together after both entered the fray on 59 minutes by which time, we were a goal down and chasing the game.

Cambridge went two up on 65 minutes before Folivi scored a penalty on 68 minutes to half the deficit. The equaliser would not come, however.

Today SB has a decision to make. He is home in a match that we should win and so can he be bold and play Folivi and Brown together with Norris as well. The stats suggest that he will unfortunately definitely not do so, and so instead bring Norris on from the bench but start Brown and Folivi as twin strikers. After all Brown was bought as the replacement for Szmodics and it was partly due to the injury to Chuck that Jevani Brown was played as a number 9 at the start of the season.

I would go with the following:

Gerken

Welch-Hayes Eastman Smith Bramall

Harriott Stevenson Chilvers Gambin

Brown Folivi

Subs

George Sowunmi Clampin Tchamadeu Norris Poku Senior

The back four offer stability. Stevenson and Chilvers are proper midfield players, not inverted wingers or being played out of position. Harriott, when he is on song, is the most skilful winger and has the ability to change games. Gambin is long overdue a starting berth as a left side winger.

Brown and Folivi have pace, skill, ability and can both score goals.

I don't know what's happened to Josh Bohui, he must have walked under some ladders or run over some black cats.

That leaves Norris, Poku and Senior as possible replacements later in the game.
But give twin strikers a chance and they will come good.

The weather is likely to be 10 degrees Celsius, mostly sunny, and only a 10% chance of rain. Much better than of late.

2,000 fans will be allowed in today, as Colchester remains in Tier Two.

If Colchester do play 4,4,2 and go with early intent then I see the Shrimpers being outplayed and defeated 4-0. Anything else and we face a difficult game which we do not need with the old enemy on Boxing Day complete with Greg Halford!

It is about time that we beat another team in the top seven of the league.
Next fixtures:

26th Southend Away
29th Cheltenham Home
January 2nd Tranmere Home
9th Salford Away
16th Cambridge Home
23rd Morecambe Away
26th Stevenage Away
29th Scunny Home

Table:
Newport 18 37 (Away Lost 2-1)
Carlisle 18 35 (Away Lost 3-2)
Cheltenham 18 33
FGR 18 33 (Home Won 1-0)
Exeter 18 30 (Away Lost 6-1)
Cambridge 17 28 (Away Lost 2-1)
COL U 18 28
Morecambe 18 28

Enjoy the game today.

Have a Merry Christmas and an even more enjoyable Boxing Day!

Up the U’s


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There's only one CUFC and they hail from North Essex!
at 18:01 15 Dec 2020

SB takes his charges the short distance to the Abbey Stadium this evening to do battle against Cambridge led by Mark Bonner. This will be our 5th game in 14 days and identifies the tough schedule that the U’s have been given with a third Away game in a row.

After the Exeter debacle results have been improving and the win at Scunny was then backed up with a good point at Port Vale on Saturday.

SB has talked about using the squad and that is the right thing to do but he must also be prepared to freshen up the strike force. Bonner said that he set up wrong at FGR on Saturday and they lost 2-0. Cambridge played 4,4,1,1 and you can guarantee that they will not want to lose to Colchester this evening.

I went to the Away game at Cambridge last season and at 1-0 we were looking strong but then two moments of madness gifted a win to Cambridge. This was disappointing especially after they won at the JSCS earlier in the season .

Tonight, gives Jevani Brown the opportunity to add to his goals tally against his old team.

Table

Newport 17 36 GD 12
Cheltenham 17 33 GD 13
Carlisle 17 32 GD 10
FGR 17 32 GD 9
Exeter 17 30 GD 15
COL U 17 28 GD 2
Orient 17 27 GD 6
Salford 16 26 GD 10
Cambridge 16 25 GD 12
Morecambe 17 25 GD-7

Cambridge started the season like a bullet train but more recently they have been derailed by some wayward results. Forget about the past tonight is a grudge match and a derby to boot. We owe them after last season.

Our next fixtures are Morecambe H, Southend A, Cheltenham H and Tranmere H therefore points tonight are important as are goals. That 6-1 defeat at Exeter cost us dearly with GD but the U’s showed at the weekend that they are prepared to battle and put-up sterner resistance.

Team tonight

Gerken

Welch-Hayes Eastman Smith Bramall

Stevenson Chilvers

Poku Brown Harriott

Norris

Subs:
George Sowunmi Clampin Senior Gambin Folivi Lapslie

I would prefer to see Folivi and Brown start up front, but Chuck has shown great determination recently and his fitness is improving. I think a better cut of red meat is being fed to him before the games.

Weather is set to be dry and 8 degrees at the Abbey Stadium this evening.

Scoreline – I reckon Colchester to shade it 3-2 in a tight and pulsating affair with Jevani scoring the winner.

Enjoy the game.

Up the U’s

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He who would Valiant be - U's to prevail at Vale Park
at 13:48 12 Dec 2020

Encouraged by their first away win of the season at Scunny on Tuesday where the Alamo, Rourke’s Drift or the Battle of the Little Big Horn were all conjured up in a 45-minute second half SB takes his charges to Vale Park today.

Yes, it was backs to the wall but unlike at St James’s Park the defence remained resolute and in truth Scunny offered little real goal scoring chances despite their lion’s share of the possession.

The goal when it came saw the brilliant Cohen Bramall deliver an inch perfect cross to Tommy Smith who headed firmly past the Iron keeper.

I do hope that Ben Stevenson is able to return today (getting team news from Colchester is like getting blood from a stone) because the excellent Noah Chilvers has been fighting a midfield battle on his own with inverted wingers and makeshift midfielders no match for the genuine article.

Now John Askey’s Valiants have just won their last two games, a 6-3 away win at Bolton and then a game in the Micky Mouse trophy and they will be confident but then so should the U’s after Grimsby and Scunny victories with the monkey of failing to secure an away win now off our backs.

In February we lost 3-0 at Vale Park with the following team:

Gerken
Jackson Eastman Prosser Bramall
Senior Pell Stevenson Comley
Robinson Nouble

Today only five of that eleven are likely to start. Although Robinson could play for Port Vale.

Now as stated earlier I simply do not know who is fit, suspended or eligible to play and so whilst I truly hope that Ben Stevenson is fit and able to play after a one match ban.


SB is likely to go with the following:
Gerken

Welch-Hayes Eastman Smith Bramall

Chilvers Gambin (but I hope Stevenson)

Harriott Brown Senior

Norris

Subs:
George Sowunmi Clampin Poku Miranda Tchamadeu Folivi

I have given up requesting that Senior be dropped. SB is not listening . Besides, he likes his inverted wingers!

Harry Pell is injured and is Paris Cowan-Hall also injured?

Josh Bohui is out of favour. The problem is without Stevenson young Chilvers has too much to do in the centre of the park. Tom Lapslie could be recalled but I am not sure whether he is truly fit.

The weather will be dry and 7 degrees Celsius with cloud cover.

The stadium will be empty Port Vale is in tier 3.

I reckon a 2-1 to the U’s in on the cards today. Cohen Bramall is overdue a goal and so is Tom Eastman.

Table:
Newport 16 36
Cheltenham 16 32
FGR 16 29
Carlisle 16 29
Exeter 16 27
COL U 16 27
Cambridge 15 25
Salford 15 25

Enjoy the game

Up the U’s




Oh what fun it is to see Col U win away!
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Colchester to prevail against the rusty old Iron tonight
at 17:33 8 Dec 2020

After a much-needed victory against the Mariners at the weekend, SB takes his charges to the Sands Venue Stadium this evening to take on Neil Cox’s improving Iron.

Scunny have won their last two games, and our record at Glanford Park is not the best, but I expect Colchester to secure another 2-1 victory. Last season I saw the U’s come back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2, but we need to go one better this evening.

Unfortunately, I must mention the unsavoury aspect to the game on Saturday. Now at the time I did not pick up on any boos, but it was only when I saw the Chairman’s statement, that I became aware of the controversy.

I deliberately did not respond to the diatribe on the site from certain sources, suffice to say that the adverse publicity was not needed on a day when our supporters returned to the stadium and generally acquitted themselves well. Whatever people’s views on BLM, the JSCS was not the correct place to air them. The sight of a disconsolate Cohen Bramall on National TV with a Col U shirt on should be more than enough for the minority of people who feel that way to keep their counsel.

One of the finest players ever to wear the Colchester shirt was Trevor Lee who ironically won the game at the Old Den some years ago and received tremendous abuse from the Lion’s fans. In my experience such disrespect always works against the team and I do hope that we hear no more of it at the JSCS. Enough said.

The weather tonight will be wet and 4 degrees Celsius. The pitch will be greasy and likely to cut up.

Now what team will SB play.

I am going to suggest three changes. The return of Welch-Hayes and Stevenson after suspension and dropping Senior! Clearly after such a suggestion I will keep away from black cats, ladders and so on but enough is enough.

Gerken

Welch-Hayes Eastman Smith Bramall

Harriott Chilvers Stevenson Gambin

Brown Norris

Subs:
George Sowunmi Tchamadeu Poku Bohui Folivi Lapslie

Yes, I know I have omitted Senior, but this is my predicted line up and I am allowed to suggest who I like to play in the Colchester kit.

Mention of Junior Tchamadeu who made a superb debut for the club and looked far more mature than his tender 16 years of age. Callum Ainsley Harriott also cooked up a Michelin starred performance and it is hoped that he can give the Scunny defence a roasting this evening.

One thing is sacrosanct, Brown needs support and either Chuck or Folivi should supply it.

League Table

Newport 15 33
Cheltenham 16 32
FGR 16 29
Carlisle 16 29
Exeter 16 27
Cambridge 15 25
Salford 15 25
Orient 16 24
COL U 15 24
Tranmere 16 24
PV 16 22

This is our game in hand, and we need the points, not only to close the gap but also to improve on a woeful Away record this season. We do not want to be constantly chasing the top seven we need to be right amongst them.

Enjoy the game.

Up the U’s

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Mariners all at sea against the Super U's tonight
at 15:30 5 Dec 2020

After a stuttering draw on Tuesday night against the Reds of Crawley, SB and his charges entertain Ian Holloway’s Mariners on Saturday evening 1730hrs kick off at the JSCS.

Now I am keeping this short because frankly I am swamped with things to do at present.

Weather in Colchester mostly cloudy dry and 4 degrees Celsius.

Team:

Gerken

Welch-Hayes Eastman Sowunmi Bramall

Stevenson Chilvers

Harriott Bohui

Brown Folivi

Subs:

George Gambin Lapslie Miranda Norris Cowan-Hall Poku

Of course, I will be wrong Senior will play and Poku will start. Do not know about Pell’s fitness.

Now do not get me wrong I like Poku I just think he has not advanced as much as he should have done after last season.

Just a plea to SB, please play two strikers and let Brown have some decent support if you want him to score more goals. Aimless high balls to him when isolated and surrounded by three defenders is no good at all.

Score 3-0 to Colchester

Frankly, this is a must win and a must win handsomely. Especially so after Scunny warmed up with another win today.

Up the U’s

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Time to stand up and be counted against Crawley tonight
at 14:24 1 Dec 2020

The shellshocked U’s entertain the reds of Crawley at the JSCS this evening but before we focus on this must win game a consideration of the dreadful events at St James’ Park last Tuesday evening.

Now try as I can I am unable to banish the truly horrendous images from my mind. But then I thought am I overthinking this. Is it really as simple as Exeter City are simply our bogey team? After all every side has another team that has the Indian sign over them. But no however easy that is to consider, it was the manner of the defeat that knocked the stuffing out of Colchester. So, what is the real reason, is SB simply tactically inept. I reckon that he is and what proves it for me was the manner of our capitulation.

Now at Half Time however little of the game that we had enjoyed for the first half it was only 1-0 but then SB made three substitutions. The team then became so disjointed and ill at ease that it became a turkey shoot.

SB got his starting line-up wrong, simple as and no excuses because we have been crying out for weeks for a second striker. Jevani Brown is isolated and alone like someone in Tier 3.

SB plays 5 at the back with Pell just above or alongside the back four.

Stevenson and Chilvers are then holding midfield players with his favoured two wingers who are bizarrely “inverted” wingers leaving Jevani Brown all on his own.

Result we are too defensive minded and Exeter (even though I do not like them) had done their homework. We were pressed back from the outset and forced to play mainly in our own half. Jevani Brown managed one shot on goal which might have gone in but for a decent save.

Jay for Exeter played superbly well and scored on 20 minutes and that is how it stayed until the end of the first half.

This is when SB panicked. He disrupted the defence by taking off the excellent Welch-Hayes and replaced him with Harriott (who is still not fully fit). Poku was replaced by Chuck and the industrious Chilvers was replaced by Folivi. So, in one move SB weakened the defence and the midfield and played three at the back but still kept Pell in defence and then expected Ben Stevenson to singlehandedly take on the four Exeter midfield players who could not believe their luck.

Gerken

Welch-Hayes Eastman Smith Bramall

Pell

Stevenson Chilvers

Senior Poku

Brown

Then on 45 minutes we moved to:

Gerken

Eastman Smith Bramall

Pell

Stevenson

Senior Bohui Harriott

Brown Norris

Senior was weak and ineffectual, Harriott was unfit, the formation was clearly one that none of the players had contemplated let alone play on the training ground.

Randall then scored on 53 minutes and at 2-0 the game was up.

SB then did his Alec Guinness impersonation at the Bridge over the River Kwai – “What have I done?” And exacerbated the problem by thinking why did I take off my Right Back at half time and brought on an out of form and inexperienced Scarlett on 56 minutes for the disappointing Senior.

Result Bowman (who will never score an easier hattrick) scored on 57 minutes after Scarlett had been dispossessed on the right. At 3-0 the team were shell shocked and looked leggy. No one was receiving any service up front at all. Bowman scored another tap in to make it 4-0 on 71 minutes.

Only then did we see some interplay between Brown and Folivi who scored with a sharp shot on 73 minutes and it was 4-1. I thought at this stage that we had another goal in us and perhaps could have made it even 4-3.

However, SB brought his talisman Brown off on 74 minutes and replaced him with Josh Bohui. The team continued to labour and without Brown there was even less attacking threat. Poor Ben Stevenson was injured and eventually had to go off. Leaving Exeter to score twice more on 90+3 (Bowman) and Jay (90+5) to leave the scoreline 6-1. Frankly, it could have been 10.

In truth the game was over at 2-0.

So, we finished with:

Gerken

Scarlett Eastman Smith Bramall

Pell

Bohui Harriott

Folivi Norris

(Stevenson injured)

A weakened defence, no midfield and forwards who had never played in this formation ever before.

I felt sorry for Bramall who did not deserve to play in such a pathetic team and for Brown who surely cannot be sending SB a Christmas Card this year for the way that he has been treated and played out of position and without cover or support.

To make things even worse Marine eked out a 1-0 win at the weekend and have drawn Spurs in the third round. We have as a club have lost £250K this season because of our inability to beat the part timers from Crosby.

Phil Parkinson should be welcomed back with open arms.

Not only was the defeat so damaging to our confidence, but also it has destroyed our positive goal difference and forced us down to mid-table again. Once you quickly get off the pace in this league you are always playing catch up and this is the situation that we now find ourselves in.

I make no apology for the damning indictment we were abysmal, and SB must accept the blame for the tactical mistakes and disgraceful performance. Much has been made about Klopp’s annoyance at the lack of 5 subs in the premier league. Maybe SB needs to telephone the German and ask him about deploying 5 substitutes tactically and with nouse.

So, this evening we play Crawley at the JSCS. Led by John Yems they have just secured a lucrative third round cup tie against Leeds United after defeating Wimbledon at the weekend. They will not be short on confidence and could leapfrog the U’s if they win tonight. This is a must not lose and definitely a must win game now for Colchester.

SB must play the following starting XI:

The one doubt is Ben Stevenson who was injured but hopefully he will be fit. If not, then Paris Cowan-Hall or fit again Tom Lapslie could play midfield.

Gerken

Welch-Hayes Eastman Sowunmi Bramall

Pell Stevenson Chilvers

Bohui Brown Folivi

No messing about, a genuine 4,3,3 with Bohui on the flank and Folivi and Brown, who have a good understanding on the pitch, to play as two strikers.

Subs:
George Cowan-Hall Smith Lapslie Poku Senior Norris

This season we have played poorly at times but won. Dreadful against Marine we were woeful against Exeter. SB must be on borrowed time.

Stop the lone striker, take the game to the opposition. Stop the five at the back. Play Pell in a more advanced role and give Brown the safety blanket of Michael Folivi. Jevani Brown will only get back to scoring ways if he has service and support. I do hope that SB has learned something from the mauling against the Grecians.

Weather tonight will be dry, 4 degrees and partly cloudy. The pitch will be good, and we need to get the ball down and play. SB has had one week to address his deficiencies.

I am not showing a league table we dropped to 11th and that is embarrassing enough to know.

Enjoy the game if you can – prediction 2-0 to Colchester but only if SB is brave and tactically savvy.

Up the U’s

Rumour is Parky is attending the match tonight.


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