COLCHESTER United midfielder Ben Stevenson believes a competitive but tight-knit squad can drive the club to success this season.

The U's have enjoyed plenty of success in the first third of their campaign, currently sitting tenth and just two places outside the League Two play-offs heading into Saturday's match at Cheltenham Town.

They are also through to the Carabao Cup quarter-finals, with a last-eight date at Manchester United on the horizon, in addition to having finished top of Southern Group A of the Trophy.

Stevenson has been happy to play his part and sees no reason why the feelgood factor should finish anytime soon.

"Last year, when it came to injuries, we possibly fell a bit short in terms of having replacements and competition for places," said the former Coventry City man, who scored his first goal of the season in Colchester's recent victory against Newport County.

"But this time the squad is much stronger and that's what you need.

"When you're in the team, you know there are others pushing you to perform and wanting to take the shirt.

"Obviously it's frustrating if you're not in the team but you know that if you keep working hard, your chance will come.

"No-one sulks when they're not playing because the squad is so tight-knit.

"Everyone wants everyone else to do well, because we're all working towards the same aim and want to be part of a successful team.

"When we go behind, we don't panic. We regroup."

Colchester's under-23s had been due to visit neighbours Ipswich Town on Monday afternoon.

However, the game, which will be played at the Blues' Playford Road base, has been moved to Thursday (kick-off 1pm).

The young U's are currently ninth and second-from-bottom in the Professional Development League Two South table.

Ipswich are a place above them in eighth.

Meanwhile, the U's young guns are preparing for an FA Youth Cup tie at home to Oxford United on Tuesday night.

The sides are meeting in a second-round proper tie at the JobServe Community Stadium, with kick-off at 7pm.

Liam Bailey's Colchester won 2-1 at Northampton Town in the first round on October 30 while Oxford booked their place after winning 1-0 after extra time at Reading City.

Tickets for Tuesday's game cost £7 for adults, £5 for concessions, £3 for under-14s and £1 for under-eights.