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Jon Waldron: My views on the U's
So Colchester United manager Joe Dunne has now conceded that the club are embroiled in a relegation battle for the second successive season.
But does the fact that the majority of their current squad have experience of battling to avoid the drop have any influence on their chances of staying in League One, this time around?
It’s a question I’ve posed to U’s players and coaches alike over the last couple of weeks and the answer is usually yes.
The general consensus seems to be that having successfully survived last season, Colchester’s players are stronger for the experience.
That could well be true, for the likes of Magnus Okuonghae, Brian Wilson, David Wright and Jabo Ibehre were all regulars for Dunne’s side in a campaign where their destiny was ultimately decided on the final day of the season at Carlisle United.
The aforementioned players have formed the backbone of the team this season, too.
But unlike last year, Colchester have spent almost the entire campaign residing in a position outside of the bottom four.
Whereas last time the U’s were battling to either escape or stay clear of the relegation zone, that has not been the case this season.
But after their 2-0 defeat at Notts County left them three points above the bottom four heading into tomorrow night's trip to play-off chasing Peterborough United, they are now left looking nervously over their shoulders with seven games to go.
Dunne is absolutely right to urge both players and supporters alike to keep believing.
After all, the U’s destiny is still in their own hands.
There are plenty of clubs currently occupying positions below them in the table who would gladly swap, given half the chance.
But Notts County have shown how important momentum can be at this stage of the season, beating the U's to rack up a third successive win and climb out of the danger zone having seemingly looked down and out.
Such a run can galvanise everyone connected with a club, just as a disappointing run of form can have a demoralising effect in equal measure.
Colchester have demonstrated enough attacking intent in their recent performances to show that they are capable of getting results, in their remaining games.
But now is the time more than any other that they put their experiences of last season to good effect.
It's clear they need to turn that potential into results and cut out the individual errors, before it is too late.
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