COLCHESTER United are staring at a relegation battle, full in the face.

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Winger Gavin Massey recognises this, but he also insists that the U’s have too many quality players to remain near the bottom for too long.

The U’s slithered to their sixth defeat on the bounce, beaten 3-1 at home by promotion-chasing Brentford on Boxing Day, to leave them just one place above the relegation zone.

Saturday’s home game against Swindon was postponed, but now they face an equally daunting test at play-off candidates Crawley Town this afternoon.

“Obviously we are in a relegation battle at the moment, but then we were in it at the beginning of the season as well,” explained Massey.

“We then got out of it with six wins in seven, so we all know, the fans as well, that we are capable of turning it on again and flying away from the relegation zone.

“It’s a bit of a sticky patch. But we’ve got far too many good players to even consider ourselves as a relegation team.

“It’s just that nothing seems to be going our way at the moment.

“It’s our sixth defeat on the bounce, but it’s only a matter of time before we turn it around.

“We are all annoyed and a bit stressed, but there is not a lot we can do about it. We just have to sort it out on the pitch,” added Massey.

Ex-Watford attacker Massey returned to the team against Brentford, after serving a three-match suspension for a red card during the 5-1 defeat at MK Dons.

And the 20-year-old sparkled down the right flank, just as Drey Wright caught the eye with a man-of-the-match performance down the left, on his full league debut, as well as scoring his first senior goal.

Both Massey and Wright will hope to feature again at Crawley.

Massey enthused: “I congratulate Drey on his full league debut. He was a different class.

“He’s only going to get better and better. He has been the danger-man in recent games, and the goal will boost his confidence.

“As for me, it was three weeks out, but it felt like ages. I lasted 65 minutes, before the gaffer decided to take me off to save my legs.

“It was good to be back after the three games away. I felt good and felt quite sharp, having done a lot of strength work.

“I’ve had a lay-off now, so I want to get back in the rhythm.

“We are going to need the battling qualities we showed against Brentford, to get out of the relegation battle.”

Defender Josh Thompson serves a one-match suspension this afternoon, but new recruits Jack Compton and George Porter are in the travelling squad.

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