Oh, to have been a fly on the Colchester United home dressing room wall at 5pm last Saturday night.

For the second successive match, Joe Dunne was driven to conduct a candid, in-depth discussion with his players about where they are heading this season, following another disappointing defeat.

Their spiritless home loss against Oldham Athletic led to the U’s boss asking them if they are a team reliant on the trio of loanees who have made such an impact since his appointment as manager – Jabo Ibehre, Craig Eastmond and Sanchez Watt.

Even the Colchester manager admitted that recent results suggest that they are, on the day he confirmed that Eastmond will follow his Arsenal team-mate Watt back to the Emirates from treatment on a foot injury.

Colchester must now prove that they can cope without the talented Gunners duo; they have little choice.

But they must do so quickly, for a run of six defeats in seven games has left them perched perilously close to the drop zone ahead of a busy Christmas period.

It now seems an age since a resurgent Colchester side registered five wins in six matches in the first few weeks of Dunne’s reign and the contrast in form between then and now could not be more marked.

But there is rarely any middle ground in football.

Just as winning becomes a habit as it did for the U’s in the month of October, so too does losing games.

Somehow, Colchester must lift themselves out of the rut in which they find themselves and sooner rather than later.

It will not be easy, though.

Their next game is at Bournemouth, who like their last opponents are a team in form in League One, having gone 12 matches without defeat.

Now more than ever though is the time for them to roll up their sleeves and rediscover the kind of spirit displayed by Dunne during his time as a U’s player and turn their flagging fortunes around.