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Colchester United 1 v 1 Grimsby Town
SkyBet League Two
Saturday, 20th January 2018 Kick-off 15:00
U's Vs Grimsby - Durham's Preview
Friday, 19th Jan 2018 21:15 by Durham Exile

How fortunes change, in a few short days the U’s have gone from one of the top form teams in the league to a team that suddenly hasn’t won in four games and has conceded as many goals in the last two games as they did in the previous 12. Colchester currently sit in 11th place having played at least one more game than their rivals.

Russell Slade’s Grimsby are certainly no better and have lost their last four games and are 17th. Therefore two of the most disappointing teams form wise line up at the WHCS on Saturday, in what is a must not lose for both teams.

Having painted a grim picture, it is easy to allow the glass half empty brigade to prevail, but a handsome home win and the U’s will be looking forward to a top seven place again. Defeat and the anger sharks will be swimming around Colchester and with some justification.

JM therefore must deploy his team to secure the maximum this weekend. This week has seen 22-year-old centre midfielder Brandon Comley sign permanently for the U’s from parent club QPR. I think that this is a decent signing, Comley has been playing well and has not let the side down, offering consistently good performances for his loan team. He will now be able to push on and help his new club to promotion.

Discussions with Kyel Reid continue, albeit from a distance via text because Reid is back in Coventry. He still has two more games to serve on suspension before he is eligible to possibly play again. The jury is still out on Reid. He has scored 3 goals in 13 games, but his judgement was seriously lacking when he foolishly lashed out prior to a U’s free kick against Cheltenham.

What JM must ask is, does he offer something to the team that other wide players at the club cannot bring to the party. Kane Vincent-Young, Ryan Jackson, Drey Wright and of course Brennan Dickenson are all able to perform in wide roles for the U’s. Dickenson will be back in February and is our best winger without doubt. Reid is 30 years of age and whilst you could argue that he could play for another 5 years. He lacks consistency and blows hot and cold during a match.

Walker remains number one and this is not open to debate. Rene Gilmartin has added a new dimension that previous Goal keeping coaches have not, but big Sam is the first choice between the sticks.

Luke Prosser’s return to the team gives JM another decision to make. Does he play him at the back with Eastman Inniss and Kent in a back four or play him instead of one of the others. The three at the back formation has been the mainstay of our recent good form and this is something that JM must address. Prosser was of course club captain prior to his horrendous long-term injury. We must not forget about Cameron James, who I thought played very well last season, but his opportunities have been limited this year.

Given that Murray, Comley and Jackson are the preferred midfield formation does JM add Drey Wright to the mix or bring Marmite back into a possible four. Doug Loft if fit is also in contention.

This would mean that Szmodics would continue to play just behind Mandron and Guthrie in a front three which seems to be the preferred forward line. JM must decide quickly though whether Mandron and Guthrie can play effectively together or whether Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe should be given a chance up front with Guthrie.

JM has also stated that he would like to strengthen the squad still further. I agree wholeheartedly, an experienced midfield player and another striker are both required now that the disappointing Brandon Hanlan has returned to his parent club Charlton Athletic.

Tomorrow JM must bring home the three points against the Mariners. They need to be battered into submission and sent back to Humberside after a real drubbing. We are due a decent home win and something like 4-0 would go down a storm.

His team must be something along these lines:

Walker

Eastman Inniss Kent

Jackson Murray Comley Wright

Szmodics

Mandron Guthrie

Subs:
Gilmartin Kpekawa Prosser Lapslie Ogedi-Uzokwe Loft James

If Tom Lapslie plays, then Drey Wright drops to the bench I would imagine. All of this suggests that Dickenson must return as soon as he is fully fit and able to do so. Perhaps the Coventry City home game on 13 February.

The Weather forecast suggests 5 degrees Celsius in Colchester tomorrow with light rain falling. Durham has seen two decent falls of snow this week, the second delivering 6ins of the white stuff and it remains cold and frosty tonight. We returned from the South West this week where it was 11 degrees and mainly dry but with occasional light showers. Apparently, it is due to turn milder next week, bring it on!

Let us hope for a better crowd tomorrow, less than 3,000 helps no one and if the team are to achieve promotion they need plenty more to roar them on.

Enjoy the game.

Up the U’s

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