THEY say it never rains but it pours.

And rather like a monsoon, Colchester United seem to be experiencing a season-long deluge of problems all at once – and at just the wrong time.

Injuries to key players in the same position, individual loss of form, a collective dearth of confidence, defensive issues and a lack of goals are all factors which combined, have resulted in the U’s suffering three straight league defeats for the first time in nearly a year and four losses in their last five matches.

It is form that is less than ideal at any stage of the season, let alone now when there are only a few weeks remaining.

Having started the month in fifth position, Colchester now find themselves ninth and four points off the play-off positions, with seven games of the League Two campaign to go.

In the space of little more than two months, John McGreal’s side have lost to all of the sides currently occupying the play-off positions.

And last month, they were held to a draw at home by the team a place immediately above them, Carlisle United.

Unfortunately, that kind of form is not the sort that wins teams promotions or even secures play-off places.

The reality is that Colchester now have to string a number of successive wins together in order to even renew hope of clinching a top-seven finish.

And given the fact that they have only managed back-to-back league victories on four occasions this season – and are yet to win three league games in a row - that is sadly looking unlikely in the final seven games, particularly with the personnel they are missing.

In the opening months of the campaign, back when Colchester were looking a very good bet for an automatic promotion spot, the contribution of their three main summer signings was being lauded.

The arrival of Harry Pell, Frank Nouble and Luke Norris undoubtedly made a difference, providing some much-needed experience in an otherwise youthful squad.

But for various reasons, none of them started for the U’s against Tranmere and the valuable League Two knowledge they brought is suddenly now missing.

Add to that injuries suffered by two more senior players – Tom Eastman and Rene Gilmartin – and the fact that key midfielder Tom Lapslie is not yet fully fit and you can see why Colchester might be struggling.

McGreal will do his best to patch up his side in readiness for a trip to Cambridge United this weekend, looking for a way to halt their untimely losing run.

There is still time for Colchester to turn things around but needless to say, they must quickly find a way to halt the deluge before their season is too late to be saved.