BANTER is thankfully back in sync this week after games and deadlines went astray over the festive period.

Sadly that now gives me time to look back at that second half at Crawley, perhaps one of the most disappointing 45 minutes of my life.

The end result gave the U’s just one meagre point from a possible nine over Christmas and New Year, and with all due respect, given the opposition we played, that number should have easily been six or probably more.

Last Saturday was a massive opportunity to get over our Crawley catastrophe with a moral-boosting win over bottom dwellers Notts County.

Sammie Szmodics' strike made it a brilliant start, which was just as the doctor had ordered but then the U’s fell apart, one or two players went missing and despite our concerted efforts after the break, we could only muster a draw.

John McGreal imparted some strong words post-Gatwick trip.

It made a pleasant change because when a manager is too insular with their comments, fans can lose respect for said manager.

For me, though, it wasn’t backed up as well as it could have been on the pitch against Notts County.

That said, we fought back for the point. I also thought that Mandron played well and he linked very effectively with Sammie.

Shame that we had to take both of these goalscorers off to bring on new faces near the end; perhaps others should have been sacrificed.

Good to see Ryan Gondoh back on the pitch again. His old Maldon mate Junior is back at the U’s after his loan period so I wonder if he might be welcomed back into the fold.

Hopefully he is not going to be farmed out on loan again.

I suspect that we’ll need him as we travel further into the January transfer window, my most dreaded month of the football season.

It can easily make or break any teams chances of success so whilst on one hand I would be over the moon to see any of our players, especially the old youth teamers, leave for “bigger” clubs, I would be gutted to see them go, given the hole it would leave in the team.

A hole that could be filled by players coming in of course but my guess is that these would be loanees in the main, even if a transfer windfall hit the U’s balance sheet.

Lots of work for John and co this month then, adding to the pressure of getting back to winning ways at Port Vale tomorrow.

No easy task but I maintain that our players are still the same players that we had in our golden start to the season, so if they can only get back that form and recover their mojo, then I am sure that with loads of games left to play the U’s can get back into the top three.

Good luck tomorrow U’s and thanks to all travelling to support them.

Jon Burns, Colchester United Supporters Association chairman