COLCHESTER United head coach John McGreal has challenged his players to respond positively following a disappointing January.

The U’s only managed one win from five matches during the first month of the year, losing three of them.

However, McGreal was encouraged by his side’s performances and hopes more of the same will be rewarded with a greater points haul in February - starting with a victory at Northampton Town tomorrow.

“We know it’s going to be a tough game bit we’re looking for a reaction,” said the U’s boss.

“I know people see the results in big bold numbers but performance-wise we’ve been very good in the last couple of games.

“We’re not doing a lot wrong, in terms of performances and the stats.

“It’s generally the wins and losses columns that the fans and media look at, but inside the club we look at different things - different targets and different numbers.

“We’ve played two form teams in our last two games (Mansfield and Crewe) and should have come away with six points, so we’re going there on a high tomorrow, especially with our three new signings on board.”

Colchester lost 2-1 at home to Northampton back in late August and although the Cobblers have struggled since, McGreal insists they cannot be taken lightly.

“Northampton were very good when they came here earlier in the season,” he said.

“They’ve lost a few players since and changed their shape but they’re a big club.

“They got relegated and have found it tough in this division.

“Keith Curle’s come in and tried to steady the ship.

“They’ve got a few younger boys playing and they try and get the ball down and play.”

McGreal said that his only injury concerns for the game were Luke Norris and Ryan Gondoh.

Norris was due to pick up his recovery from injury with some extra running towards the latter part of this week, but Gondoh’s hamstring problem would keep him sidelined still.