HEAD coach John McGreal says Cambridge United is an ideal place to get his Colchester United team out of a position that they have been unaccustomed to being in this season.

The U’s head to the U’s on Saturday looking to end a run of three back-to-back League Two defeats that have seen them drop off the play-off pace.

Having spent the vast majority of the campaign in the top seven, their 2-0 home defeat by Tranmere Rovers last weekend saw McGreal’s side fall to ninth in the table and four points outside the play-off spots.

So, with seven games to go, they know they must respond quickly and the U’s boss feels a local derby at Cambridge will be a chance to fire their push back up again.

He said: “We were always on the back foot last season, but we have always been in it this year.

“It just hurts like hell not to be in there now.

“Injuries have been detrimental to that.

“I’m not one to complain but I listen to every other manager and I think ‘do you know what, I’ll mention it myself’ because there are no bigger or better players out than what we have.

“Players like Rene Gilmartin, Tom Eastman, Harry Pell, Brandon Comley and Frank Nouble – any team would miss players like that.

“The form hasn’t been through want of trying.

“Had it been anything different then there would have been something to write about, but it’s not.

“We’ve had a couple of defeats recently in a way we haven’t all season and now is the wrong time, but there’s no better time to put it right than against a good Cambridge side.

“Any derby is a great game to go into, but any game we go into now in the last seven will see teams with something to play for because it’s so tight.

“We’ve seen that already from the bottom to the top.

“Everyone has something to play for and Cambridge are no different.”

Colchester are likely to take a sizeable away following to the Abbey Stadium and McGreal said those travelling fans will all have a part to play tomorrow.

He added: “A couple of years ago when I first took over, we took about a thousand fans to Cambridge.

“I remember (Sammie) Szmodics scoring in front of them and some of the fans breaking over the side.

“We know we will bring a good following and the boys know that.

“The changing rooms are very close to the away fans there and you do tend to hear them singing.

“We know our fans will be there nice and early so it’s down to us to put on a performance for them.

“That goal by Sammie was to get us a draw but we want to win games of football now.

“As well as the fans hurting with results of late, the players have been hurting.

“We’ve been in a great position all season until the last game so we want to get back to close the gap.”