“It’s time to regroup again” – Colchester United boss John McGreal

PUBLISHED: 12:50 14 March 2017

Substitute Macauley Bonne just fails to get in a shot during Saturday's 4-0 defeat to Portsmouth, with keeper David Forde struggling. Bonne should feature again tonight. Picture: STEVE WALLER

Substitute Macauley Bonne just fails to get in a shot during Saturday's 4-0 defeat to Portsmouth, with keeper David Forde struggling. Bonne should feature again tonight. Picture: STEVE WALLER

© Copyright Stephen Waller

Colchester United boss, John McGreal, remains confident that his injury-ravaged squad can sustain a play-off push during the last 10 games of the regular season.

However, the U’s cannot really afford to lose to play-off rivals Mansfield Town this evening, otherwise they could find themselves as many as six points adrift of the top seven.

Six of the U’s last 10 games are at home, and McGreal’s men had won seven of their previous eight home matches before crashing to a 4-0 defeat at the hands of visiting Portsmouth on Saturday.

Pompey look set for a top-three finish, and automatic promotion to League One, and they certainly overpowered their hosts in a one-sided contest.

However, it should be a different story tonight against a Mansfield side just one point and two places better off than the U’s.

Steve Evans’ side have only won one of their last six matches, so the U’s have a chance to get on the front foot, something they never managed throughout the whole 90 minutes against Pompey.

“Saturday was a bit of a setback (for the play-offs), of course it was,” admitted McGreal.

“But again there are still 10 games to go. We have got ourselves into a strong position, and have we now got enough to get over the line? I surely think we have.

“It’s time to regroup again. Portsmouth are in the top three for a reason, they are a very good team.

“We have some big home games coming up. We have to take the positives from this, and pick the bones from Saturday’s performance and go again.

“We will look back at the tape, to see if there were any positives.

“But like with the rest of the season, I’m going to stay confident and keep pushing until the end of the campaign,” added McGreal.

Sammie Szmodics started his first game for more than four months on Saturday, although he was substituted at half-time.

McGreal explained: “Sammie (Szmodics) coming off at half-time was purely just because he had had only 15 minutes (substitute at Cambridge) in four months.

“It was one of those where we were either going to start him, or bring him on for 45 minutes, and we thought that we’d start him, knowing full well that he wouldn’t give in. He was blowing a little bit after 30 minutes of the first half, but hopefully we’ll get Sammie through to the end of the season.”

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