Crawford concerned by Colchester’s uncertain start

Colchester United v Northampton Town – Saturday 3pm JobServe Community Stadium – Preview

RAY CRAWFORD confessed his concern at Colchester United’s winless start to their Sky Best League Two campaign and urged the U’s to display a little more steel and discipline when Northampton Town are the visitors to the JobServe Community Stadium on Saturday.

Colchester has taken only two points from their opening four matches. And despite showing encouraging glimpses of form, the north Essex side has squandered the lead in each of their last two games as both Cambridge United and Grimsby Town fashioned impressive second half recoveries.

Cambridge claimed all three points at the Community Stadium, while Grimsby rescued a point after trailing by two goals, and Crawford insisted that a weak mentality is costing his former club.

“It’s been a disappointing start to the season, compounded by the fact Colchester has played fairly well for spells during all four matches,” the one-time England forward bemoaned.

“The last two, against Cambridge and Grimsby, have almost been carbon copies. Colchester has dominated, not killed the game off, then been punished after letting the opposition off the hook. It’s not good enough.

“We are showing a soft underbelly in a division full of scrappers. Colchester plays on the front foot but retreats into their shell almost as soon as they conceded a goal.”

Crawford continued: “The mentality has to change otherwise it could be a long, difficult season. I know Colchester have lost some of their prized assets to bigger clubs, but that give others an opportunity. They need to step up, and quickly!

“John McGreal has managed the team for four years now. He must have a good idea of what this league is all about. Collectively, he and the players have to get it right. It’s no good throwing in the towel as soon as the opposition put you under pressure.”

Speaking about the visit of Northampton, Crawford added: “They will be confident after picking up their first win of the season at Swindon on Tuesday. However, they can be got at – both Macclesfield and Walsall have beaten them.

“But Colchester must find a ruthless, tough streak. It needs to happen before they find themselves in a scrap at the wrong end of the table. They are capable, they all need to believe it.”

Colchester United v Northampton Town – Head to head:
Colchester United won: 29
Drawn: 14 
Northampton Town won: 33

Colchester United v Northampton Town – Last five meetings (all competitions):
January 27, 2009 – Sky Bet League One
Colchester United 2-1 Northampton Town

October 9, 2012 – Johnstones Paint Trophy
Northampton Town 3-2 Colchester United

September 1, 2015 – Johnstones Paint Trophy
Northampton Town 3-2 Colchester United

August 25, 2018 – Sky Bet League Two
Colchester United 1-2 Northampton Town

February 2, 2019 – Sky Bet League Two
Northampton Town 0-4 Colchester United

Ray’s prediction: Colchester United 1-0 Northampton Town
Jeevesie’s prediction: Colchester United 1-1 Northampton Town

Brian Jeeves

Email: sport@yellowad.co.uk