COLCHESTER United head to Harrogate Town this afternoon – with the statistics showing that they are moving in the right direction under the Cowleys.

The U’s will be looking to extend their unbeaten run to five matches at the Envirovent Stadium against a Town side who themselves are in fine form.

Colchester have made strides at both ends of the pitch since Danny Cowley’s arrival last month and the U’s head coach wants that to continue against a Harrogate side who have lost only one of their last ten matches.

Cowley said: “The statistics that we really look for in our team are certainly becoming more prominent.

READ MORE: Connor Hall embracing U's 'feel-good factor' under Cowleys

“In terms of shots conceded and expected goals against in open play, we’re now right at the top of the division.

“It’s a big step in the right direction, although we’re still conceding big chances from set piece moments, so this is something we have to keep working on as a group.

“I think if we can eradicate that, we probably win the Swindon game and the Forest Green game and we’re talking about three wins and one draw and ten points.

“I think we’re making good progress but there are definitely still areas that we can keep working on.


“As a team, I think we like to defend early.

“When we defend, I think we feel like we’re attacking and it’s always for us to win the ball high up the pitch.

“We press to score goals and if we can’t press to force the opponent long and then try to win the first contact, on the halfway line and then pick up the second and dominate the ball in the attacking half.

“That’s our ambition and something that we’re trying to work towards.

“We want our teams to be aggressive and I think this is really important and I think we saw that much more in evidence in the second half (against Forest Green) and it’s now for us to try to put the 90-minute performance together.”

READ MORE: U's defender leaves on loan to join National League South club

John Akinde is pushing for a start for Colchester at Harrogate, after making an impact off the bench in the 3-3 draw against Forest Green Rovers, last weekend.

Akinde provided the assist for Alistair Smith’s equaliser and helped the U’s come back from 2-0 down to claim a point.

“John is absolutely in contention for a start,” said Cowley.

“He came on and made the real impact that we wanted him to have.

“I think for us when we are chasing games, we have the opportunity to get the second centre-forward in and then maybe Alistair Smith plays higher, on the left-hand side as the eight and this is something that’s natural to Alistair as well.


“It was that left-hand side combination that really got us back into the game, with Alistair, John and Harry (Anderson), who played a big part in the three goals.”

Colchester are hopeful that midfielder Cameron McGeehan will be able to return to the squad, after he missed the draw with Forest Green due to concussion protocol following his head injury at Morecambe.

Cowley added: “He’s finished his protocol, so he’s back in full training.

“We’re hopeful that he’ll be available for the weekend.”