JOE Dunne had no hesitation about returning to Colchester United to assist interim head coach Wayne Brown.

And the popular former U's player, coach and manager will place particular focus on boosting the mental state of the out-of-form squad.

Dunne has returned to Colchester to work alongside Brown and academy boss Dave Huzzey, following the departure of head coach Hayden Mullins on Wednesday.

The 48-year-old, who spent nearly two years in charge as Colchester boss between 2012 and 2014, played more than 160 league games as a right-back for the U’s before progressing through the coaching ranks at the club.

He also briefly returned to the JobServe Community Stadium in a coaching role, during Brown's interim spell in charge, last season.

Brown said: “When we talk about passion and wanting to do well, Joe’s got so much positive history with the football club.

“The first thing he said is that he didn’t have any hesitations – he said ‘yep, brilliant, I’d love to help you out’.

“It’s going to be a bit different to how it was last year, when I think he was only here for eight days, in total.

“This year, it’s going to be a lot more hands on.

“He’s going to lead some sessions and he’s going to have a massive input in getting the lads mentally in a better head space.

“When you’ve been on a bad run, you’re going to be quite low as a group but it’s down to me and Joe and Dave (Huzzey) to get the best out of the group and get a bounce."


Brown takes charge of his first game as Colchester's interim head coach tomorrow when they travel to play Salford City.

The U's are looking to end a run of six straight defeats in all competitions, a sequence that has left them three points above the League Two relegation zone.

However, Brown insists Colchester are not far away from getting positive results.

“Whatever league you play in, it’s tough," said Brown.

“When you’re low in confidence and you’re on a bad run, it’s hard to get out of.

“That was seen last year, with a different group but I feel this group is in a different place, quality-wise.

“That’s got nothing against the group that we had here, last year.

“I feel that we’ve got a lot more strength in depth.

“We’re older, for sure and I’d like to think that our game management and prep will be managed not only off the pitch but on the pitch.

“If I’m totally honest, having seen the last couple of games we’re not far away.

“It’s easy for me to say that but we’re not – that’s fact.

“We’re creating opportunities, we scored two goals away from home during the week when we’d struggled to score goals, so that’s a real good positive and something to build on.

“And of late, we’ve not conceded that many.

“I know we conceded three on Tuesday but ultimately, we need to get that mentality of clean sheets, being hard to break down, being solid and causing teams trouble in their own final third, which is obviously the aim.”