Colchester United season-ticket holder Si Collinson's views on the U's

WHICH qualities ensure a player is the first name on a teamsheet at a football club? The goals? The assists? Being a crowd favourite?

This list goes on and can have a multitude of answers, depending on who you happen to be talking to.

At the moment, there is an air of positivity around the club and all the players are mucking in and doing their bit.

But for me, there have been three stand-out players who should be playing week in, week out as long as they are fit.

Dean Gerken, after a slow-burning start in pre-season, has really made that number one spot his own, both in the league and during our cup run.

He has made a number of key saves and really commands the defence in a way that has been missed in recent seasons.

Next up is Ben Stevenson, a player who again did not have the best pre-season but has come on and really been a rock in the heart of the U's midfield.

He seems to be everywhere at times and can defend as well as being prominent in the attacking moves, playing the ball both left and right to get the wide attack going.

All that is missing from his season so far is a deserved goal.

No chat about key players can be complete without mentioning Tom Eastman.

The stalwart of the U's defence who can not be rated high enough for his performances so far this season.

Yes, as every player, he had made mistakes but he has more than made up for them.

His long balls out from the back at pin point and he can start an attack, just as well as he can finish one.

He has scored and been there for some key assists already this season.

Hopefully this trio of players will carry on their fine form and others will aspire to match them.

All that needs to happen is fingers crossed, they stay injury-free.

Talking of injuries, it's good to see that players are on their way back to fitness and - touch wood - there have not been any new ones of note.

Harry Pell is close to a long-awaited comeback and will be a strong addition to the squad, going forward.

And it's great that Callum Harriott is back in training by all accounts and should be able to put is name in the hat for selection very soon.

The Carabao Cup run is still steaming forward and this week, tickets go on sale for the next round at Crawley (funnily enough our league opponents this Saturday).

It will be a sell-out that's for sure with Crawley's away end holding around 1,800.

What will be interesting is if the queues outside the ticket office are as long as they were for the Spurs game.

I know the opposition are not as appealing but there's a quarter-final spot up for grabs and no matter who we are playing, we should all be getting behind the lads - let's see where this season takes up.

I was talking about the season before the Stevenage game and someone summed it up as a slow-burner.

That it has been but it sure shows signs of igniting with the current run, the players we have both available and on the cusp of returning and the fast-flowing football we have been treated to.

Let's all get behind the team and really push on to where the club so be - League One as a minimum.