COLCHESTER United head coach Steve Ball insists their heavy defeat at Exeter City will not ‘derail’ them, this season.

The U’s were left licking their wounds following their 6-1 loss at St James Park, their heaviest defeat for five-and-a-half years.

Colchester’s players have been back in training preparing for their next game, a home clash with Crawley Town, next Tuesday.

And boss Ball has stressed that all of their efforts now are on producing a big response against the Reds, at the JobServe Community Stadium.

Ball said: “It’s football - we’ve done it to teams and teams have done it to us.

“It happens very occasionally and very rarely.

“But we will learn from it and we’ll bounce back, for sure.

“It won’t derail us, that’s for sure.

“I’m never going to over-react - I was very angry but one thing I’ve learnt is that you cannot go over the top.

“Of course, we’re going to deal with it properly but over-reaction? No.

“It’s our third defeat this season and we’ve had a positive start to the year.

“It was a really disappointing evening but it’s a 46-game season and we’ve made a good start.

“Whether it’s 3-1 or 6-1, it’s a defeat and it’s three points lost and we’ve got a chance next week to get those three points back.”

Meanwhile, Ball has backed Dean Gerken after the experienced goalkeeper received criticism after recent games.

The U’s keeper was left disappointed with goals conceded against Exeter and Mansfield, by his high standards.

But Gerken also produced some fine performances this season and has helped the U's keep three clean sheets so far, in League Two.

“Dean Gerken is a very, very experienced goalkeeper,” added Ball.

“When things aren’t going great, goalkeepers are always going to be pointed at.

“Dean has been excellent this season.

“Yes, I think Dean will be disappointed about a couple of things of late but he’s got great character and is a great professional.

“Dean will know – as the whole team will – that (Exeter game) just wasn’t good enough.”