COLCHESTER United boss John McGreal hopes supporters turn out in force and get behind his team in tonight's showdown against neighbours Ipswich Town.

The rivals are set to meet in a Trophy contest at the JobServe Community Stadium (kick-off 7.30pm).

League One leaders Ipswich are reportedly bringing around 2,500 fans and McGreal hopes the U's have a similarly-impressive backing for the East Anglian derby.

"By all accounts, Ipswich have already sold over 2,000 for the away end," he said.

"They're coming fully-loaded, which shows the terrific support they've got.

"But hopefully, despite our disappointing performance at the weekend, our fans will stick with us and get behind us, because we need their support.

"We'd love our supporters, their family and friends, to come along so we're not outnumbered here at home.

"If we win, we're through.

"It's going to be a different challenge against a side that have been top of the table pretty much all season.

"We know how tough they are because we played them in pre-season (losing 5-0).

"We know how well they performed then but tonight's a different game and one we have to try and win."

McGreal, whose side are second in Southern Group A after winning 3-2 at Gillingham and drawing 1-1 with Tottenham Hotspur's under-21s, insists the match carries no extra significance for him personally because he played for Ipswich.

The former defender enjoyed five successful years at Portman Road, helping Town reach the play-off final at Wembley, where they beat Barnsley 4-2 to earn promotion to the Premier League.

They finished fifth the following season and went onto grace the UEFA Cup.

However, when asked if tonight would be special for him, McGreal said: "No, not really.

"I've come up against them numerous times now, mainly in pre-season, and it doesn't give me any extra motivation because it's Ipswich.

"It's just another cup game and another match we have to try and win.

"I don't want it to be about me.

"I want it to be about our club, going into a game we have to try and win.

"I had some terrific times at Ipswich - a promotion, finishing fifth in the Premier League and playing in the UEFA Cup.

"They were five brilliant years and I still live in the area, so see and speak to a lot of their fans.

"But in terms of my time at the club, it's in the past."

Ipswich are top of Southern Group A after wins against Spurs' under-21s and Gillingham.

The eight group winners and eight runners-up across the various north and south groups qualify for the round of 32.

Colchester will be hoping to get back on track after bowing out of the FA Cup on Saturday, losing 2-0 to Coventry City in a first-round tie at the Community Stadium.

"I'm a really honest bloke and think you get a reputation in the game for being like that," said McGreal.

"Other managers have been honest enough about us in the past, saying we were the better team, and sometimes you have to hold your hands up and say the opposition were better."