Turn the clock back just ten days and Colchester United’s League One survival looked almost inconceivable. Following a dismal run of 19 league games without victory, even an away victory at Bradford City in early March appeared to be inconsequential, with two defeats and a draw following the Valley Parade triumph.
However, the turnaround appears to finally be underway – but is it too late to repair the damage? The U’s have taken seven points from their last three outings, and shown they possess both flair and grit in the process, but the games are running out.
Good Friday’s 4-1 demolition of fellow relegation candidates Doncaster Rovers saw four different players on the scoresheet for the Essex club, with George Moncur running the game with a masterful midfield display.
The 1-0 win away at promotion hopefuls Coventry City saw a defensive (and goalkeeping) masterclass as Gavin Massey’s excellent early opener was followed by some intense Coventry pressure, and a spot-kick save as Elliot Lee brilliantly kept out a Jacob Murphy penalty.
The U’s were perhaps unlucky not to beat Millwall in Saturday’s goalless draw, but that in itself shows the improvements Kevin Keen’s side are making. Having shipped 86 goals in 37 league games, they have now conceded just once in their last three matches.
It’s a good platform to build on, but draws will not be enough to lead the U’s to the incredible feat of retaining their League One status. Fleetwood may be winless in six, and Shrewsbury have taken just one point from their last four games, but Colchester have seven and eleven points to catch up on them respectively – with just six games of their season left.
There is still a huge amount of work to do for Keen’s side, but they have shown huge improvements in recent games and are set to increase the pressure on sides like Fleetwood and the Shrews if they continue to slip up. At 20/1 to stay up, the U’s are likely to interest many. After all, stranger things have happened.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.