IF anyone was doubting them after a tough January, the past seven days have shown that Colchester United are emphatically back in the League Two promotion race.

The first month of 2019 had seen the U’s take just four points from a possible 15 as they dropped out of the play-off places but a 4-0 win at Northampton has got February off to the perfect start.

That scoreline was obviously an eye-catching one and rightly so – it was a performance on the road that deserved to be looked at.

However, there are underlying factors over the last seven days that make it so much more than just another three points.

It had been a big week at Colchester since the disappointment of the 2-1 defeat up at Crewe.

This time last week, they had just lost back-to-back games that had been led at half-time and hopes of new faces coming in to bolster the squad looked slim.

It appeared as if the U’s promotion campaign could be stuttering, but wind the clock on seven days and it’s a very different picture.

Fears that the January transfer window would pass without any new additions were allayed by three impressive additions – the loans of Abo Eisa and Callum Roberts and the signing of Ben Stevenson.

And all three have already showed their worth to Colchester’s promotion cause.

Boss John McGreal described the first training session with all three involved as “electric” and all three made immediate impacts when they saw action at Northampton on Saturday.

The positive energy that new additions can inject into any squad should not be underestimated and the U’s are clearly seeing the benefits of that.

Players know increased competition for places can only be good for the common cause and it’s a buzz that lifts everyone.

It’s a clear statement of intent from the club – we mean business and are prepared to back this promotion push seriously.

There was also the added bonus that concerns that key players such as Kane Vincent-Young or Sammie Szmodics may be lured away in the transfer window came to nothing.

Not only was the squad enhanced by new signings, this influential week ended with the existing strength still there.

That’s why it was so good to see all that positivity from the week transferred into the cold hard currency of points on Saturday.

It was seven days that could quite simply be crucial when the U’s season is assessed at the end of the campaign.