Two-time Colchester United promotion winner Karl Duguid says his former club should hold no fear in their pursuit of a coveted play-off place.
And the U’s legend has urged them to “enjoy the ride” as they drive on for an immediate return to the third tier.
Colchester lie two points off the top seven in League Two with three games remaining and this weekend play host to already-promoted Plymouth Argyle, who are chasing the title.
But John McGreal’s play-off push is gathering speed, with the U’s having lost only one of their last five matches.
And ahead of the clash between two of his old clubs on Saturday, former Colchester captain Duguid has encouraged them to put their foot to the floor and go full pace for promotion.
Duguid told the Daily Gazette: “They should enjoy the ride and I don’t think they should have any fear.
“It’s good to see the season ending this way with them pushing for promotion, especially after what’s happened there over the last few seasons with them battling against relegation.
“Colchester have arguably the best games in the run-in.
“Even though they’ve had Doncaster and now Plymouth, they’re already up and sub-consciously as a player it can be different after that’s happened.
“It’s all about momentum and I’ve always felt that with the team that goes up through the play-offs, it’s often the one that’s finished the season the strongest.
“You can finish seventh in the table and still get promoted and it’s often that team that feels the most confident, going into the play-off games.
“It’s different for the likes of Luton and Carlisle who have been up there all season but that’s not the case for Colchester, this season.
“The ones who make the play-offs at the last minute are often the ones who go up in the end, because everyone is on a high.”
Duguid was part of the Colchester squad that won promotion in 1998, when they beat Torquay United 1-0 at Wembley to win the division three play-off final.
“It’s a great way to go up,” said Duguid.
“It’s exciting for everyone at the club and the fans and you get a trip to Wembley, which is fantastic.
“On the flipside, it isn’t nice to lose at Wembley but you don’t want to look at the downsides.
“Don’t get me wrong, the play-offs can be tough and they take a lot out of you but it’s all worth it if you go up.”
Duguid’s two former clubs go head to head at the Weston Homes Community Stadium this Saturday, with Colchester hosting Plymouth.
The 39-year-old, who made more than 450 appearances during two spells at the U’s, spent three years with the Pilgrims between 2008 and 2011.
“I think it has all the makings of being a great game on Saturday,” said Duguid, who is now manager of Thurlow Nunn League outfit Stanway Rovers.
“Plymouth can still win the league but Colchester can still get into the play-offs.
“Colchester have got the second best home record in League Two but Plymouth have the best away record in the division.
“This weekend is a big one for Colchester - they need to get a result and hope other results go in their favour.
“But if they win their final three games, they have a great chance of being in there.
“I’m really pleased that Plymouth have won promotion.
“They’re a big club and were a fantastic football club to work for.
“I enjoyed every single minute of being there and even when I go back there now, everyone is fantastic.
“They’re so friendly and they make you feel really welcome.
“It’s great to see them promoted to a higher level and I think they can push on now.
“When I was there, they were getting gates of 16,000 and taking 2,000 to some away games.
“They have a fantastic fanbase and I think they can push on again.”