IT is perhaps a measure of Colchester United’s progress over the last couple of months that in their last two home games, they have deservedly beaten opposition residing above them in the League Two table.

It was a notable win over Exeter City yesterday not just in terms of the result but also because of the manner of their performance, particularly in the first half.

As head coach John McGreal commented afterwards, the Grecians are a tough nut to crack.

For the U’s to be 3-0 up against them after half an hour – forcing their manager Paul Tisdale to make a tactical substitution and change the shape of his team before half-time – was particularly impressive.

In their last three games against teams above them in the table, Colchester have shown that their quest to reach the play-offs – or even better – is a genuine one.


SAMMIE Szmodics’ sizzling first-half display captured the headlines for Colchester United yesterday.

The U’s attacker was at his irrepressible best for the U’s against Exeter City, scoring twice and only missing out on a hat-trick because of a deflection and the width of a post.

Colchester head coach John McGreal admitted after the Grecians victory that it might be hard to hold onto Szmodics in next month’s transfer window, given the growing interest in the talented youngster.

It would be a blow to lose the forward but surely no-one at the U’s would begrudge their former academy player the opportunity to progress to a higher level, should it arise next month.


COLCHESTER United have lost only two of their last 12 games in League Two.

They are one of the division’s in-form teams and it is a sequence of results that has seen them rise to a position in the table where they are only out of the play-off places on goal difference.

The U’s named an unchanged side for their win over Exeter City yesterday and the fact that their good run of form has been achieved by a starting line-up that has hardly changed over recent weeks is hardly a coincidence.

Earlier in the campaign, Colchester were hampered by injuries that forced boss John McGreal to make changes for practically every game.

But now those ailments have eased, the U’s head coach has generally been able to stick with the players who have been doing the business for him and that continuity has been reflected on the pitch, to great effect.

And with Sean Murray back and the likes of Kurtis Guthrie not far away from a first-team return, the competition for places is fiercer than it has been all season.


RYAN Inniss has been a huge part of Colchester United’s impressive form in League Two over the last couple of months.

So the U’s anxiety over the defender’s shoulder injury suffered against Exeter City yesterday is perfectly understandable.

Inniss’s performances since arriving on loan from Premier League club Crystal Palace have been excellent.

And the lofty centre-back has stated himself that one of the main reasons for that good form has been the fact that he has had an extended run in the U’s starting line-up – and largely stayed clear of the injuries that have plagued the early years of his professional career.

Both Inniss and Colchester will be hoping that next week brings good news and that his shoulder problem is less serious than it seemed.


JOHN McGreal has said he is wary of rocking the boat by bringing in new signings in next month’s transfer window.

The U’s head coach is understandably happy with how is squad have been performing and is pleased with the harmony that currently exists within the camp.

In addition, Colchester’s first-round exit in this season’s FA Cup has restricted the budget they have to play around with.

If the U’s do want to strengthen in January, who they go after – and in which positions – might well depend on who exits the Weston Homes Community Stadium.

Ideally, Colchester would like to hang onto the likes of Sammie Szmodics and Kane Vincent-Young, who have been attracting interest from bigger clubs.

But the U’s might also choose to allow fringe players to leave with the likes of Nicke Kabamba likely to return to their parent clubs when their loans end next month.