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Mansfield Town   v   Colchester United
SkyBet League Two
Saturday, 11th March 2017 Kick-off 15:00
U's Vs Portsmouth - Durham's Preview
Saturday, 11th Mar 2017 09:11 by Durham Exile

We are beginning to get to the business end of the League Two season. The top nine sides all have 11 games to play with only Luton after 34 games played, having 12 to play.


After Tuesday evening, Plymouth Argyle, despite their humbling by Blackpool remain second whilst Pompey after their victory at Crawley move into the final automatic promotion place. That means that there are only 8 points separating 3rd place from 9th position.

Doncaster 35 69
Plymouth 35 65
Pompey 35 59
Carlisle 35 58
Luton 34 57
Stevenage 35 55
Exeter 35 54
Mansfield 35 52
COL U 35 51

Now on Saturday JM will have fully prepared his charges to entertain Paul Cook’s Pompey in what is arguably the biggest game of the season so far. Ok I know that no game is worth more than three points, but this is simply huge for both teams. Pompey will want to cement their place in the top three, whilst the Super U’s can close to within 5 points of third position with a victory.

Of course, momentum is the key word to describe a team’s ambitions now, invariably it is the team that enters the Play Offs with momentum that achieves the ultimate goal and of course with 33 points still to play for, any of the top 9 could achieve one of those automatic places (on paper of course).

Colchester were visibly buoyed by the performance and results at Cambridge United. The great away support (1,415) and emotional scenes after Sammy Szmodics’ deserved equaliser has encouraged the U’s to believe that promotion is achievable this season. Equally Pompey’s dismal failure to defeat Crewe Alexandra at Fratton Park will have reinforced the fact that any team can defeat any other in League Two. Look out for the games at Luton v Stevenage and Mansfield v Plymouth, which also look like close encounters.

Cook is likely to stick with his starting XI from Tuesday night, meaning that Enda Stevens is likely to have recovered from his injury sustained against Crawley.

Team:
Forde, Evans, Burgess, Clarke, Stevens, Rose, Michael Doyle, Baker, Naismith, Bennett, Eoin Doyle

Therefore, everyone’s boo boy Gary Roberts is likely to be on the bench.

Pompey have a decent away record with 8 wins, 5 draws and 5 defeats. Make no mistake this will be a bruising and difficult encounter.

Let us be clear however, Colchester United have the second-best Home record in the league (10 wins, 2 draws and 4 defeats) with only leaders Donny Rovers sporting a better return. The game is set to be a cracker and likely to be played in front of more than 6,000 inside the WHCS, with over 2,200 making the journey from the south coast.

Now JM has a decision to make. Will he risk Lewis Kinsella and Sammy Szmodics, will Richard Brindley be fit? I reckon that he could do a lot worse than select an unchanged team, perhaps with a slightly changed 3,4,3 formation.

Walker

James Elokobi Briggs

Wright Lapslie Garvan Murray

Fosu Porter Dickenson

Subs:

Barnes Vincent-Young Wynter Kinsella Szmodics Bonne Pyke

JM has proven capable of making inspired substitutions from the bench and in Szmodics, Bonne and Pyke, he has three players than can turn the game in the last 25 minutes if required. Fresh legs and fitness could tell tomorrow in what will be a warm Spring day (15 – 18 degrees centigrade) and on a fast and true surface at the WHCS.

The following Tuesday evening Colchester play host to the Stags from Mansfield Town before an encounter with the Railwaymen at Crewe on the following Saturday. Yes, the games are coming fast and furious at present.

The opportunity for the U’s to have had a complete week’s rest; whereas Pompey played on Tuesday evening, could be the difference between success and failure tomorrow.

It is all about the result and three points, which will enable the Super U’s to be buoyant at 4.50pm, whereas the Pompey chimes will fall silent.

Enjoy the game and the atmosphere at fortress WHCS.

Up the Super U’s

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Photo: Action Images



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