HARRY Pell admits there is no hiding place for Colchester United’s players in the wake of back-to-back defeats.

But the U’s midfielder insists they have no time to dwell on their hugely disappointing 3-0 loss at Port Vale, with only 12 games remaining in League Two.

John McGreal’s side have lost three of their last four matches, after their defeat at Vale Park followed hot on the heels of their 3-2 reverse at the hands of Grimsby Town.

Pell, who made his 50th league appearance for the U’s against Vale, said: “As a team, we’re not hiding away from the fact that the last two games haven’t been good enough.

“It’s been a game and a half, when you include the second half against Grimsby.

“It’s not all doom and gloom.

"But everyone needs to be honest and say that the last two games have been nowhere near good enough.

“We need to fix it as soon as possible, put a brave face on, roll our sleeves up and earn three points that we desperately need on Saturday (against Salford City).”

Colchester now lie seventh in the table, ahead of their game at Salford this weekend.

“This league is so unforgiving,” said former Cheltenham Town favourite Pell.

“If you put a couple of wins together, the table is completely different but if you put back-to-back losses together, all of a sudden it looks horrendous.

“As a team, we need to keep our focus and we have a thing or two to prove in our remaining 12 games now.

“Every team goes through it and it’s a difficult period after the last two games.

“This is where your characters need to step up – we’ll look forward to that next game and hopefully turn a corner.

“We’ve got 12 games left now and they are 12 cup finals.

“We’ve got a week to work before our next big game, at Salford.

“There’s no time to feel down in the dumps and we have to move on quickly.

“I’m sure that the boss will enjoy six or seven days on the training pitch now, to try and get ready for Saturday.”

Mark Cullen’s brace and Tom Conlon’s strike condemned Colchester to a hugely disappointing defeat.

Pell added: “(Port Vale) did a job on us really – they had a high press and they tried to stop us from playing.

“The conditions were very difficult but that’s not an excuse.

“The game for me typified a League Two game of football and if you’re not going to roll your sleeves up and get stuck in, you’re never going to get out of this league.

“The goals we conceded against Grimsby were horrendous and it was the same (against Port Vale).

“We’ve been the masters of our own failure really.”