As they bask in the excitement of a fantastic Carabao Cup quarter-final draw away to Manchester United, Colchester United face a major worry over top scorer Luke Norris ahead of Saturday’s game at Mansfield Town.
After scoring their equaliser, Norris was forced off during the second half of Tuesday’s Carabao Cup triumph at Crawley Town with a groin injury on the hour mark.
Norris, who has scored six goals for Colchester so far this season in all competitions, could miss the Mansfield trip which would leave the U’s short of front men, with Theo Robinson currently serving a three-match suspension.
U’s boss John McGreal said: “It didn’t look too good to be honest but it’s one that we’ll have to assess.”
Otherwise, it’s very much all rosy in the Colchester garden and the vast majority of United fans recognise that McGreal continues to do a great job for the club.
He’s led them to the quarter-final of the League Cup for only the second time in the club’s history and the U’s sit only five points off the automatic promotion places.
McGreal has a difficult job in the sense that he has to always balance the need to get results with ensuring the club’s youngsters get the opportunity to play in the first team, but he appears to be managing the two aspects well.
Like every season, Colchester’s main objective is to challenge for promotion and they will be striving to achieve at the very least a play-off place, having gone so close last season.
After a slow start, they have picked up some form and momentum of late.
They have lost only three of their last 18 games in all competitions and have looked particularly solid at the back with eight clean sheets in total so far while at the other end, forwards Norris and Robinson have already hit nine goals between them.
There were plenty of arrivals and departures for Colchester, during the summer.
The U’s added several new attacking options.
Jevani Brown arrived from League Two rivals Cambridge United while Luke Gambin, Paris Cowan-Hall and Michael Fernandes also came in to bolster their offensive armoury.
Goalkeeper Dean Gerken returned to the club after nearly 10 years away following his release by Ipswich Town, while defenders Cohen Bramall and Omar Sowunmi have arrived from Arsenal and Yeovil Town respectively.
Colchester also lost a number of key players, with academy trio Sammie Szmodics, Frankie Kent and Kane Vincent-Young all departing.
The likes of Brennan Dickenson, Mikael Mandron and Rene Gilmartin also moved on.
Centre half Tom Eastman has been a key man and in magnificent form this season, shining in not only League Two but also in Colchester’s Carabao Cup ties.
Eastman also lends weight to the U’s attack with his diagonal passes and surging runs and if he plays well, it usually means the U’s do too.
Right winger Courtney Senior also has the ability to make things happen with his skill, pace and eye-catching attacking play and has bundles of talent.
The former Brentford youngster scored a fine goal in the U’s 3-1 win over Newport County last weekend and always has the potential to give opposition defences a very hard time.
Colchester could welcome back Paris Cowan-Hall on Saturday, who is nearing a return to fitness following a calf problem, and midfielder Harry Pell is also edging closer to a comeback, having not played since the opening day of the season due to an Achilles problem.