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Match Previews

HERE'S LOOKING AT YOU: Colchester United

We take a closer look at this weekend's opponents

9 February 2018

Match Previews

HERE'S LOOKING AT YOU: Colchester United

We take a closer look at this weekend's opponents

9 February 2018

The Blues look to bounce back from the heartbreaking late defeat at Wycombe as Colchester United come to Cumbria.

Keith Curle’s side have a great opportunity to recover from the disappointment suffered at Adams Park with a home fixture against the U’s. 

But Colchester themselves will be keen for a result to continue their push towards the play-offs.

We put the U’s under the spotlight ahead of their visit to Brunton Park: 

Unbeaten in Three 

The U’s are without defeat in their last three Sky Bet League Two outings and are still very much in play-off contention. 

While two of those games have ended in draws, there have been some eye-catching results and performances from Colchester of late. 

Their last outing saw them pick up a comfortable 2-0 win over Newport, which sees them sitting in tenth – five points and three places above the Blues.

John McGreal’s side are only five points off the play-off places and will be keen to mount an assault on the top seven. 

Fresh Faces 

Colchester were busy on Deadline Day, adding a number of new faces to their squad.

Wolves’ Ben Stevenson, Doncaster’s Liam Mandeville and QPR wideman Freddie Shadapo all joined on loan, and it was a fine start for Stevenson who netted on his debut against Newport. 

Mandeville and Shadapo didn’t feature, although the former was named on the bench, so both will be keen to make their maiden appearances at Brunton Park this weekend. 

All three have plenty of experience at a higher level and will certainly be ones to watch on Saturday. 

What Does History Tell Us? 

Carlisle and Colchester have met regularly over recent years, with the Essex outfit slightly edging the head-to-head record. 

The U’s have won 19 of the 44 meetings between the two sides, with United claiming 12 victories in comparison. 

And it’s Colchester who have dominated the meetings between the pair over the last few years, with Carlisle having won only two of the most recent meetings. 

United did, however, win the previous meeting between the two sides this season – Jamie Devitt netting the winner in a 1-0 win at the Weston Homes Community Stadium.

Watch the highlights from 1-0 away win in October this season here:

Mixed Home Form 

United’s record on home soil against Colchester has been mixed in recent years, with the Essex side having visited Brunton Park seven times since the turn of the millennium. 

And in that time, the Blues have picked up four wins compared to Colchester’s three in what have been some entertaining and engaging games. 

But Keith Curle could well sacrifice the entertainment in exchange for another home win this weekend. 

Ones to Watch 

+ Doug Loft - A versatile left-sided player, Loft offers Colchester plenty of options in both midfield and defence. Formerly of Brighton, Port Vale and Gillingham, Loft joined the U’s last season but missed the vast majority of the campaign through injury. Now, however, Loft seems to be back to his best and put in an impressive performance against Mansfield last time out. Creative and extremely attack-minded, the wideman could certainly provide plenty of ammunition for the U’s forwards this weekend. That’s if he is fit – Loft has missed the last two weeks through injuty but could return at Brunton Park. 

+ Sean Murray - The attacking midfielder is in scintillating form at the moment, having scored one and assisted the other in the victory over Mansfield, while also netting in the triumph at Yeovil. The Irishman has been a regular for the U’s this season and comes alive around the box, meaning the Blues will have to watch him carefully on Saturday afternoon. 

+ Mikael Mandron - A summer addition from Wigan Athletic, the Frenchman has started the season well and has already netted three for his new club, including one last weekend against Mansfield. Having started his career at Sunderland, Mandron enjoyed loan spells at Fleetwood, Shrewsbury and Hartlepool before signing for Eastleigh. His impressive form in the National League saw him move to Wigan before the U’s came calling in the summer. Quick, powerful and cool under pressure, Mandron is always a real threat.

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