GIGG Lane is not the easiest of places to go to, even at the best of times.

When you are in desperate need of three points, especially at this crucial time of the season, it’s even tougher.

But even taking into account Bury’s considerable quality – not to mention their own desire to clinch an automatic promotion place - it might just suit Colchester United better to be away from home in their next match.

Indeed, they have picked up seven points from a possible 12 in their last five games on their travels and claimed victory in their last away game at Cambridge United.

And while that might not be electric promotion-winning form it is nevertheless a decent return, especially in comparison to how they are faring at the JobServe Community Stadium.

After three straight defeats at the venue, without a goal being scored in that time by the hosts, it is not a happy home for the U’s at present.

That showed in their nervous first-half performance against Oldham Athletic, where the hosts’ edgy display in the opening minutes ultimately cost them dear despite an improved second-half showing.

Colchester’s anxiety in front of their own supporters did not escape the notice of boss John McGreal, who felt his side had a ‘feeling of fear’ at times in the first half.

It is certainly a far cry from their home form in the first half of the season, when the U’s won seven of their opening ten league games at the stadium before Christmas.

Indeed, during McGreal’s three-year reign as head coach, Colchester have generally been a dominant force on their own soil.

So why is it happening?

The error-ridden display in the opening quarter of the match against Oldham was as surprising as it was frustrating, especially given the fact that this was the same side that had started the morale-boosting win at Cambridge United, seven days earlier.

Alarmingly, there seemed to be a lack of confidence in both boxes at times and sadly, such anxiety is being reflected in recent results.

Ten goals conceded in the last five matches does not make pretty reading, from a defensive point of view.

And at the other end, one goal scored in that same period is equally disappointing.

The last time a Colchester attacking player found the net was six games ago, when Courtney Senior, Sammie Szmodics and Frank Nouble all netted in a 3-0 win over Newport County on March 9.

Given the quality of their squad, it has been a tough time for the U’s in both defence and attack of late but one of the main reasons for their woes can be found in midfield.

The prolonged absence of Harry Pell is not the sole reason for Colchester’s disappointing form – but it is certainly not helping.

The U’s must sharpen up in all areas if they are to rediscover some form and get back on track.

But given how they have fared at home of late, a game on their travels against a Bury side who themselves have lost three games on the spin might just have come at the right time for Colchester.