COLCHESTER United head coach John McGreal has urged his players to embrace their League Two play-off bid – and not choke at a vital time of the season.

The U’s head down to fellow promotion hopefuls Exeter City this weekend, looking to bounce back following their disappointing 3-0 home defeat at the hands of Forest Green Rovers.

Colchester lie seventh in the table with nine games remaining, as they strive to seal a coveted play-off place.

And despite an inconsistent spell of late, boss McGreal says there’s plenty to play for.

McGreal said: “We want to embrace it and we don’t want to be choking, coming towards the end of it.

“We don’t get frustrated because we’ve been in and around it all season and we’re enjoying it.

“It’s a position that the club haven’t been in for quite a number of years, in that top seven for the vast majority of the season.

“There’s nine games left and there’s a lot of points to play for.

“Once we perform to our level we’ve seen it and we have to get that consistency – that’s the big thing between now and the end of the season.

“A lot of clubs in and around us like Exeter will want the same – that’s what everyone will be craving at this moment in time.

“The boys are doing a fantastic job to keep ourselves in and around it knowing the constraints we have at the football club.

“It’s no coincidence that the teams with the biggest budgets are all in the top four.

“We are where we are because we’ve worked ever so hard to stay there and now we have to work even harder, with the back of the fans and keeping that belief.

“It’s about the extra hard work we need to put in now – that’s the main thing.

“We can only do it together and I know for certain that our backing at Exeter will be good – they’ll be vocal and that’s the only thing you can ask for.

“Hopefully we’ll replicate that by putting the performance in for them.”

Colchester can move back up to sixth with a win tomorrow and McGreal says his players are staying level headed.

“We lost on Tuesday and we’ve addressed it – our next big game now is against Exeter on Saturday.

“There’s pros and cons – we’re one of the best teams in division two ever seen last Saturday and then we come off on Tuesday the worst.

“That’s the way we are from the outside perspective but from the inside, we know where we’re going and what we trying to do.

“With defeats, we try and keep our feet firmly on the floor and with wins, even firmer because you can’t get wrapped up in certain things.

“There’s going to be defeats along the way and you only have to look at the last couple of results – we’ve won one and lost one and it’s the same as Forest Green, MK Dons and Carlisle United.

“I think it paints a picture of how the division is.”