In his his third season in charge at Colchester United, this season so far seems to be the strongest promotion bid John McGreal has mounted since his appointment as Kevin Keen’s successor.
Promotion has always been the aim from the word go for Colchester this season, from the word go, and they are within touching distance of the automatic promotion places heading into this weekend’s match and have looked impressive at both ends of the pitch.
McGreal has produced a U’s side who are pleasing on the eye and are one of the leading goalscorers in League Two, along with one that has a strong defensive backbone.
He had a bit more financial support last summer in terms of bringing in experienced first team players and I that has boosted him, as it has complemented the talented young players within the squad.
The U’s made their intentions clear last summer by making some significant signings, bringing in the likes of Harry Pell, Frank Nouble and Luke Norris all from rival League Two clubs which was a statement of intent.
Central midfielder Pell has brought personality and character both on and off the pitch and his experience in the middle of the park has really made a difference for Colchester.
He has chipped in with seven goals from midfield already this season and his aerial ability and box-to-box energy has proved a real asset.
Attacking midfielder Sammie Szmodics is currently Colchester’s leading scorer with nine goals and plays a pivotal role for his side, sitting just behind their main forward which currently is Mikael Mandron.
Szmodics is Colchester through and through having been born in the town and emerged through the U’s academy and his infectious energy and work-rate, along with his skill and talent, is a big asset for his side.
For the visit of Mansfield Colchester may well stick with the same side that started their 3-0 win at Port Vale.
They were without key defensive duo Frankie Kent (back) and Kane Vincent-Young (toe) for the game at Vale Park and they could well both miss the game against Mansfield.
However, their replacements Tom Eastman and Brennan Dickenson performed well and the U’s could well stick with them.
Other than that, they have a full squad to choose from.