WHERE have all the goals gone?

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If Colchester United are going to avoid relegation this season, then they need to start hitting the net.

To do that, they must either unearth a scoring gem, or else recruit a new striker.

Only basement dwellers Hartlepool United have scored fewer than the U’s 24 goals in League One.

And it is a sad fact that the U’s leading scorer remains Jabo Ibehre, who bagged four goals during his loan stay from MK Dons.

Out-of-favour front-runner Ian Henderson, and left-back Michael Rose, are the club’s next highest goalscorers on three apiece.

With over half the season gone, these are depressing statistics.

And recent signs have not been that encouraging.

Firstly, the U’s have only mustered one goal in their last six fixtures – Drey Wright’s effort in the 3-1 home defeat to Brentford.

And they have hardly registered an effort on target in recent games, managing just one serious goal-bound attempt in last Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at Doncaster, while Crawley keeper Paul Jones never had a serious save to make in the U’s previous 3-0 defeat at Broadfield Stadium.

Manager Joe Dunne does not have that many options up front.

He has plenty of alternatives on the flanks, but it is through the middle where the U’s must improve.

Clinton Morrison has failed to recapture his old form, since his arrival last summer, mustering just one goal, and it is asking a lot for new boy Dominic Samuel, signed on loan from Reading, to suddenly start churning out goals.

Dunne remains hopeful of signing an experienced front-runner during the January transfer window, and the U’s survival in League One might well depend on it.

It is no coincidence that the only club to have a leading scorer with fewer goals than the U’s four, is lowly Hartlepool (Steve Howard with three goals).

Fellow strugglers Scunthorpe United, who visit the Weston Homes Community Stadium for a vital relegation showdown tomorrow, this week bolstered their attack by signing Akpo Sodje, after the striker left Preston.

Sodje scored seven goals for the Lilywhites during the first half of the season.

Fellow striker Karl Hawley, a former U’s loanee, also signed an extension to his contract this week, to keep him with the Iron for the rest of the season. Hawley has so far netted five goals in 21 games.

Iron’s leading scorer, Leon Clarke, scored an impressive 11 goals during his three-month loan stay from Charlton. Clarke has since signed a permanent deal with Coventry City.

Of course Dunne will be hoping that the U’s can find goals from other outlets, especially the midfield and from wide positions.

But the lack of a regular goalscorer could prove costly.

Looking ahead to tomorrow’s game, the U’s will be without the midfield duo of Anthony Wordsworth (first of a two-match suspension) and Kem Izzet (ankle injury). Winger Jack Compton will also miss out due to injury.

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