Colchester United meeting the opposition.
With eight games remaining of Tranmere’s League Two season, sights have been set on an automatic promotion spot. However, to do this Rovers will have to improve their away form and this is something that they can start doing with a win against Colchester United at the JobServe Community Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Colchester are currently placed 20th and are eight points off Oldham who occupy the second to last position in the table. Following on from Monday night’s showing against Forest Green Rovers on Sky Sports, United will believe that they have enough in them to stay up. Freddie Sears is their top scorer with 12 goals in 40 appearances this season, Mellon’s defence will have to remain strong to limit the amount of chances he’s able to create.
Ahead of the game, I caught up with Max Harrington from ‘@viewsontheu’ podcast to talk about The U’s, previous meetings between the two clubs and how the upcoming ninety minutes may pan out.
Colchester United are currently placed 20th in the EFL League Two table. What were your expectations going into the season and what are they now as the campaign nears towards its final stages?
Expectations for any fan going into the season is always that we’ve got a chance to finish in the play offs and compete for promotion. I said at the start we’d finish around mid table and I’d snap your arm off for that right now. It’s been another poor season and that’s mostly down to the manager and the recruitment. A lot of former Ipswich players who are way past their best and closer to 40 than 30, we went down the experience route which has never been our way, I think it’s fair to say it hasn’t worked at all. I think we’ll stay up but there are some serious decisions and improvements that need to be made at the club.
Wayne Brown is the man currently placed in the Colchester dugout, following the dismissal of Hayden Mullins. What are the supporters’ thoughts on Brown and was it the right time to part ways with Mullins?
It was definitely time for Mullins to go, the results and the performances were awful. It’s a results business and we were nose diving for the National League with Mullins in charge.
As for Brown it’s his 3rd stint as interim manager, results have improved but we’re still a poor side that can’t score or defend. We lack identity and for me Brown is not the man long term, we need to find a manager that has a style of play and a bit more charisma. Brown will probably do enough but we have to remember it’s another year of battling relegation.
Who is the owner of United and what is their current relationship with the fanbase like?
Current owner is Robbie Cowling who has had the club for a while now, it’s fair to say the relationship between the fans is now very toxic. The club has been in a slow decline for a long time and 2 years of battling relegation out of the football league hasn’t helped. Poor decisions on and off the pitch, it’s essentially Cowling’s way or the highway. His statements to fans are arrogant and are full of excuses. The fact we have failed managers in management roles at the club pretty much sums it all up.
Who would you say are your side’s key players and where will the key battles be on Saturday afternoon?
Our key player at the moment is Noah Chilvers, he’s one of our own coming up through the academy. He offers that bit of creativity in midfield and he’s almost always involved in any good passage of play we produce. I’d also mention Owura Edwards who is on loan from Bristol City, he’s electric on the wing and loves taking the full back on. He blows hot and cold but when he’s hot he’s almost unstoppable.
How do you see the upcoming ninety minutes panning out and why, if you do, do you believe this encounter will be different to the previous meeting between the two clubs?
I don’t expect the game this weekend to be much of a spectacle. We don’t score many and Tranmere don’t concede many, I only expect to see one goal in this game and I don’t see it being us scoring it.
What starting eleven will be selected by Brown and what do you believe his opted playing style will be?
Difficult to predict the starting 11 at the moment but I hope he goes with: George, Coxe, Eastman, Dallison, Kenlock, Wiredu, Chilvers, Huws, Sears, Akinde and Edwards. We don’t really have a playing style, unless you call the centre halves lumping the ball into an area and hoping someone makes something out of nothing a style of play.
What moments/goals/experiences stand out for you in previous Colchester v Tranmere fixtures?
There aren’t too many that standout personally but I always enjoy watching us play Tranmere as they’re a well-supported club and the tequila tune is very catchy!
Touching on the transfers that the club were able to complete in the January transfer window, how influential have your incomings and outgoings been?
We had an extremely busy January, so far Tom Dallison and Owura Edwards have been the standouts. Emyr Huws has done ok and us fans are really hoping we can get something out of John Akinde. For me the issue is it’s still a poor team that lacks direction and confidence, we could have signed double the amount of players but I don’t think that solves the issues at the club.
The JobServe Community Stadium, with a capacity of 10,105, has been the home of Colchester United since August 2008. Tranmere travel there in search of three points on Saturday afternoon.