LUKE Norris insists Colchester United's play-off push is still very much alive - despite their back-to-back defeats.

The U's dropped to eighth in the League Two table following their 3-0 reverse at Exeter City, their third defeat in four matches.

However, Colchester lie only a point off the top seven ahead of their vital clash with Tranmere Rovers, on Saturday.

Norris said: “It just seems like things are going against us a lot and it’s seemed to come at the wrong time.

“But we still have eight games to go and 24 points to play for, so it’s not the end of the world or the end of the season.

“We’re eighth and outside by a point – if we go and win a couple on the bounce again, then we’re right back in it.

“We now have to bounce back again and get ourselves right back in and around it.”

Colchester have lost only three games this season after scoring first - but have not come from behind to win a match since December, 2017.

Norris admits the U's must ditch their habit of losing games after going behind if they are to achieve their target of a top-seven finish.

“We need to score first really but at some point, that does need to change if we want to achieve something," said the former Swindon striker.

“We need to do the horrible stuff and for parts of the (Exeter) game we did in.

“But in the vital areas there wasn’t that hunger or something to say we’ll roll our sleeves up and get something from the game.

“I don’t think the work ethic has ever been lacking from this squad.

“Everyone gives it 110 per cent – they always have and that’s something which I don’t think can ever be questioned.

Colchester were beaten at Exeter, after goals from Matt Jay, Lee Holmes and Nicky Law sealed the hosts’ win.

“It was really disappointing, considering where we are in the table and where Exeter are – it was a big game,” said Norris.

“The wind was horrible and I thought we did well for the first 44 minutes.

"But then we conceded a goal right on half-time from a ball that takes us out which knocked the stuffing out of us really, considering the good first half we had.

“We knew that we had the wind in the second half and had a really good early chance which we didn’t manage to take.

“I’m not really sure what’s gone on with their next two goals and it’s something that we’re going to have to look at.

“It seems to be a similar theme and it’s something we have to knock on the head and it needs to happen sharpish.”

One of the only bright spots for Colchester at Exeter was the substitute appearance of Todd Miller, who made his senior debut at the age of 16 years and 166 days old.

The U’s academy product became the club’s youngest-ever appearance maker and Norris says he is happy for the winger.

He added: “It’s terrific a kid that young playing.

“I thought he did alright when he came on and he nearly got in, apart from an offside call.

“He trained with us on Friday and didn’t look out of place at all.

“I think he’s got a great career ahead of him and hopefully, he can appear for us more this season and help us out.”