LINCOLN City boss Danny Cowley believes they have a lot to thank Colchester United for ahead of tomorrow's clash between the two sides at Sincil Bank.

The U’s beat the newly-crowned League Two champions 1-0 when they met at the JobServe Community Stadium, last October.

And former Braintree Town manager Cowley reckons the manner in which Colchester celebrated that win helped them refocus on their promotion battle and go on a long unbeaten run.

Cowley said: “They weren’t backward in their celebrations at the end of the game in October. We really appreciated that.

“They rubbed our noses in it and we kept that pain pretty close. We lost one game between then and April, going on an incredible run.

“I remember doing the debrief on the Monday after the game and we felt the pain that day. None of us wanted to feel that again.

“We have to be really appreciative of Colchester. I think they’ve done a brilliant job for us because after that game we refocused and found a real energy and desire to push on.

“We’ve got a lot to thank Colchester for.”

Cowley admits he expected Colchester to be in contention for automatic promotion, heading into the final day of the season.

While Lincoln have already wrapped up the title, the U’s head into the game needing to win and hope results go for them elsewhere in order to clinch a play-off spot.

Cowley said: “When I looked at the fixtures at the start of the season, I thought this could be a defining game, like the MK Dons and Mansfield games.

“We expected Colchester, with their squad, to be up there. They’ve got a really good academy and have brought their own players through.

“They’ve also signed some of the best players in the league, buying two players for six-figure fees.

“We anticipated that they would be right at the top of the division. For one reason and another it hasn’t been like that.

“But we know what a good team they are on their day. They’ve got some top players at this level.

"At least three or four in their squad have the potential to play in the Championship. So we know it’s going to be a really tough game.

“It’s great to be able to finish at home and it’s an important game due to the play-off situation.

“We need to perform but, more importantly, we owe it to ourselves and our supporters to finish on a high.”