PAUL Tisdale has been involved in football for more than three decades.

So the experienced manager knows how vital it is that Colchester United's complete focus is on their home clash with Walsall on Saturday - and not their looming Essex derby with Southend United.

Colchester are preparing this week for vital back-to-back home games, the outcome of which is likely to go a long way in determining whether or not they can secure their League Two status.

Hayden Mullins' side welcome Walsall to the JobServe Community Stadium this weekend, before hosting fellow strugglers Southend next Tuesday night in a huge derby battle.

But Tisdale, who is working as an advisor to Mullins for the rest of the season, says Colchester are only focused on the Saddlers clash, which will now kick-off at 5.30pm due to Prince Philip's funeral service taking place at 3pm.

Tisdale told the club’s iFollow service: "I'm going to be really boring and say as a football person who's been in this a long time that you have to take every game as it comes.

"The reason why that cliche is there is because it's true.

"You can only look one game ahead.

"You have to focus on that and things change very quickly in football and it's one game at a time."

Tisdale linked up with Colchester earlier this month in an advisory role, until the end of the season.

The 48-year-old former Exeter City and MK Dons boss has been working alongside U's interim boss Mullins, as they bid to help the club preserve their Football League status.

"I've got enough understanding of the teams and the personalities involved in League Two and the players to know that I can add some significant value to Hayden and to the football club in this short space of time," said Tisdale, who has presided over more than 700 games as a manager.

"League Two is one of those leagues where the differences between winning four or five games on the bounce to losing four or five are often quite fine.

"Those margins can easily be reversed with ensuring a team to think clearly and make simple decisions well.

"There's more than one way of winning a game of football - you've just got to pick one.

"You've got to empower your players to make good decisions and ask them to do the simple things really well.

"You have to go into every game of football with an image of how you might win it.

"Hayden has got a really clear picture of how he'd like the team to set up. "He's given that illustration to the players and it's important that they don't confuse or muddle their ideas and just keep a really clear vision and image in their mind and they go and play."