Colchester United look set to take part in the League Two play-offs, next month.

The Gazette's U's sports writer Jon Waldron, who has followed the club home and away throughout the 2019-20 campaign, takes a look at the implications of the club's revised promotion shot.

AT any other time, of course, news of Colchester United making the play-offs would have been met with euphoria and delirium from U's fans.

But these are far from normal times.

And given the grim context of what is happening in the world at the moment in the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic, it is perhaps hardly surprising that news of the likely prospect of a League Two play-off semi-final against Exeter City was greeted in a somewhat muted manner in comparison to how it might have been, in a 'normal' world, especially with games taking place behind closed doors.

All 24 clubs in the fourth tier were apparently in agreement on how they would like the season to be finished, after it was finally accepted that attempting to finish the suspended 2019-20 campaign behind closed doors would be financially unworkable.

It is estimated that it would have cost each team around £400,000 to finish the season, money many clubs just do not have in the current climate where there is no income being generated.

So, subject to ratification from the EFL and FA early next week, regrettably the campaign will end.

Play-offs will take place, probably in June, between the U's and Exeter City, along with Cheltenham Town and Northampton Town, to determine who joins Swindon Town, Crewe Alexandra and Plymouth Argyle in being promoted to League One, next season.

They say the table never lies.

And while there Colchester still have nine scheduled league games remaining this season, they are in the top seven for a reason.

Indeed, it could be argued that the U's deserve any fortune that might come their way, given how close they have come to reaching the play-offs under boss John McGreal, over recent seasons.

In each of the past three seasons, they have come so close to securing a top-seven finish, not least last season when they were cruelly denied with just minutes of the campaign to go, courtesy of a late Newport County equaliser at Morecambe.

Assuming that everything is ratified next week, Colchester's victory in the last game they played before football was suspended was hugely crucial in giving them a shot at the play-offs.

No-one could have predicted how important their 3-0 win at Carlisle United was back on March 7 but it just goes to show that every single game is important.

If everything is rubber-stamped as expected, the next step will be for the U's to put things in place to make it as safe as possible for players to return to Florence Park and train, in readiness for the play-offs.

It will without doubt be a costly business for the club but one that they feel will be worth it, for a shot at a possible Wembley appearance and a return to League One.

As Robbie Cowling told BBC Essex, it is a 'bittersweet' feeling.

On the one hand, the U's chairman is delighted that his chance will get a shot at promotion.

But the flip side is the financial cost of making the play-offs, in these difficult times for all clubs.

Now that they have seemingly been given the opportunity though, the U's will go for it.