JOHN McGreal has challenged his Colchester United players to raise the bar when they take on promotion-hopefuls Mansfield Town tomorrow.

The U's have made a promising start to the new League Two season, claiming four points from a possible six in their first two games and keeping two clean sheets.

However, their credentials are likely to be given a stiff examination by a Mansfield side who have taken a similar number of points, in their opening matches.

And despite the high standard of their league performances so far, head coach McGreal wants his U's side to take it up a notch at Field Mill.

McGreal said: “Our boys have had a few plaudits of late but the hard work starts again.

“We know that we have to be even better than what we’ve done the last two (league) games to get something at Mansfield.

“We’ve performed well of late but we need to be performing to a higher level, at Mansfield.

“We will try and win the game – that’s how we try and do it and it’s put us in good stead over the last couple of years being in and around the play-offs.

“We know what we’re good at and I think we’ve proved that over the years.

“We’ve had a good start to the season but it can all go out of the window if you don’t take on your tactical information and in and out of possession.

“You have to do the basics well and that’s something we’ll have to do on Saturday, because Mansfield are confident.

“But we’re confident too and it could be a little bit like a boxing match – you just don’t know."

Colchester face a Mansfield team who have been tipped for promotion under David Flitcroft, this season.

The Stags will be confident after their Carabao Cup win over Accrington Stanley and boss McGreal thinks it could be a game to savour.

“As we’ve done at the minute, we’re still bridging the gap in this division with some of these big clubs," he said.

“We’ve had Notts County already and Mansfield are another – they’ve been packed out crowds and they get very boisterous there and right behind their team.

“But our away fans get right behind our team as well and we have a terrific away following, so it should be a nice little atmosphere.

“David and Futch (Ben Futcher) have done terrifically well there.

“They have a terrific start and had a good win (against Accrington) the other night.

“We’ve had them watched and watched tapes back and he’s trying to implement his style – you could see that last year when he took over, that he was trying to change the style a little bit from that of Steve Evans.

“It’s taken until pre-season to get that under their belt but he’s changed one or two things around.

“But that’s David and his philosophy – we’ve got our philosophy and what we believe in.

“We’re confident ourselves and believe in what we’re doing."