JOHN McGreal’s assessment of Colchester United’s draw at Macclesfield Town was pretty telling.

“A few weeks or months ago, we’d be losing that game,” admitted the U’s boss, after seeing his team play out a 1-1 draw at the Moss Rose.

After picking up back-to-back wins, a one-point return against a side entrenched in League Two’s relegation zone was seen as something of a disappointment among some Colchester followers.

But that would perhaps not be taking into account the Silkmen’s considerable improvement under boss Sol Campbell, over recent months.

They are certainly a better team now to the one that the U’s narrowly defeated 1-0 at the JobServe Community Stadium, last December.

The former England defender has got his side battling for everything, as Colchester found to their detriment in the opening 45 minutes.

And the hosts’ vibrant attacking play before the break certainly showed that the influence of Premier League attacking icons Andrew Cole and Shaun Goater at the club is having the desired effect.

The U’s second-half display was much better though - and boss McGreal deserves credit for recognising what had been wrong in the first period and swiftly doing something to put it right.

Indeed, it was a pretty bold move to take off Abo Eisa, who had been electric for Colchester in their previous two games, at half-time.

But a switch to three at the back - and the introduction of Tom Eastman for Eisa - led to a more fluid performance.

It allowed them to have the ball more in wide areas, something that is vital to their game and meant key attacking players such as Courtney Senior and Sammie Szmodics were more of an influence.

It resulted in a point away from home and one more towards the total that Colchester hope will secure them at least a play-off place, this season.

A return of seven points from nine from their last three games is pretty decent, especially given the fact that two of those matches have come away from home.

So when McGreal refers to the possibility of the outcome of the Macclesfield game potentially being different had it taken place a few weeks ago, it is perhaps a sign of the U’s manager’s satisfaction at his team’s recent progress in terms of results.

Last month’s signings have undoubtedly made a difference; the key now is for Colchester to maintain that progress this weekend, against a Carlisle United side who lie just a point and a place below them in the League Two table.

Victory over the Cumbrians would then really show how far the U’s have come, in a short space of time.