COLCHESTER United head into a crucial final six weeks of the season with a great chance of making the League Two play-offs.

John McGreal’s side lie just one point off the top seven with eight games remaining and are striving to extend their campaign further and book a Wembley trip – with the goal of returning to the third tier after a three-year absence.

The U’s play host to fellow promotion hopefuls Tranmere Rovers this weekend, looking to get back on track following two successive defeats.

But just how many points are Colchester likely to need, in order to clinch that much-coveted play-off place?

Their tally is currently 57 points, meaning that the maximum total that they can achieve this season is 81.

Last year, the seventh-placed side was Danny Cowley’s Lincoln City who finished level on 75 points with sixth-placed Coventry City, the team that went on to win the play-off final at Wembley.

If that proves to be the cut-off mark again, the U’s will require a further 18 points from their final eight games – the equivalent of six wins.

However, the tally needed to finish seventh in League Two the previous season was considerably lower at 70 points, achieved by eventual play-off winners Blackpool.

That year, Colchester agonisingly finished a point adrift of the play-off places on 69 points, in McGreal’s first year in charge.

The average points tally needed to finish seventh in League Two in the last five years has been 72.4.

Indeed, in two of the last three seasons it has been 75, a more substantial total compared to the average points tally of 71.2 to finish in the final play-off spot needed on average over the course of the past decade in the fourth tier.

So where will Colchester’s points come from, in the coming weeks?

Of their remaining eight fixtures, the U’s play four teams who are currently situated above them in the table – Tranmere, Bury, MK Dons and Lincoln City.

They also take on Cambridge United, Oldham Athletic, Grimsby Town and relegation-threatened Yeovil Town.

U’s head coach McGreal predicated some time ago that the season is likely to go right down to the wire.

And given the fact that there are still a host of teams still chasing four play-off places, that assessment is likely to be a realistic one in the coming weeks.