COLCHESTER United head coach John McGreal admits his cup heroes cannot afford to take their eye off the ball when they return to League Two action today.

The U's are still on a high following a week which saw them secure a Carabao Cup quarter-final tie at Premier League giants Manchester United, next month.

However, the spotlight now returns to the league for Colchester's players who travel to Mansfield Town looking to maintain their good form and close ground on the teams currently occupying the top seven.

McGreal said: “We can’t take our eye off the Mansfield game.

“Now it’s back to the bread and butter of the league which is a tough, tough game for us.

“We know it’s going to be a really tough game and over the last three or so years I’ve been here, they’ve been close and tight games against Mansfield.

“It’s down to us to try and put in a performance and try and win a game of football.

“They have some fantastic players.

“They just missed out in a play-off semi-final and they’ve been in and around it, similar to ourselves really.

“We know a little bit about each other but they’ve had a change of manager.

“They’ve got some really good experienced players but it’s again down to what we do.

“They’ll be feeling that it’s little bit of after the Lord Mayor’s Show for us and we’ve had that in the past when we’ve played the likes of Newport.

“We have to be on our mettle on Saturday because if we don’t, we’ll get turned over by a good Mansfield side."

Colchester have shown before this season that they have been able to focus on the task in hand, following big cup wins.

The U's have taken points at both Oldham Athletic and Macclesfield in the aftermath of wins in the previous rounds of the Carabao Cup and boss McGreal wants them to show similar application again today, at Field Mill.

He said: “The boys have to bring themselves back down again, implement the work on the pitch and be professional.

“They’re the ones going out there and proving that.

“We’re a progressing team and we feel like each game is a different challenge – that’s the way we look at it.

“We feel like we’re in a bit of good form at the moment and we’ve recovered after what we felt was a poor performance against Morecambe.

“But we have to realise where we were prior to that – eight games before the Crawley game we were top of the form table.

“We weren’t doing that badly before the Morecambe game and there was a little bit of an over-reaction, which you get in football which we understand.

“We used the criticism in a positive way and we took four points out of six in the league and into the cup quarter-finals."

Colchester will check on the fitness of striker Luke Norris ahead of the game, after he suffered a groin injury during their win at Crawley Town.

Midfielder Harry Pell will be named in the squad after returning to fitness but Paris Cowan-Hall is not yet ready to feature despite training with the first team again after injury.