Opposing View: Preston
The last time Colchester United met Preston this season, Teddy Sheringham scored once as the U`s secured a three-nil win and Mark Yeates hit a memorable free-kick. That was August, and the club have since conceded at least one goal in the last 27 matches, with no clean-sheets.
Given that statistic, it is upspring that the club lie so low in the League; Colchester are five points adrift, and Preston, who visit Layer Road in a real crunch tie tomorrow night, are only three places above them.
Vital U`s went across the pond to get a view from Simon, the editor of rival fanzine, Preston Mad.
Q: Colchester Vs Preston: We've both slipped to the wrong end of the Championship this term, so a real six-pointer this one, wouldn't you say?
A: It would appear that it is a big match for both sides as we are now approaching the run in and we are at the wrong end of the table. Teams that are going for the title or down at the bottom say that the difference is beating the teams around you and we feel points at Layer road will put some distance between us and a fellow possible relegation contender.
Q: From recent promotion contenders to this blip; what changed? Do you miss David Nugent, who went to Pompey, or are there other seasons behind the demise?
A: I think the demise started long before Nugent left the club. Various things can be pinpointed such as a bust up between several players and ex-boss Simpson, an injury to Mckenna and a bad run at the end of last season all followed on to the start of this one. I think we miss Nugent, no question, but we are now coming to terms with a new boss who has us playing well and more positively.
Q: Players, fans and pundits alike all feel that Colchester are in something of a false position this term in the Championship, and there is a steely determination in the squad that says the U's can beat the drop. Is it the same at Preston, and have the media been as forgiving?
A: I think the league is so tight that over half the league can say they are in a false position. The last few seasons we have been in the top few and this year we are right down the bottom purely due to fine margins and a league that has many similar teams in terms of talent. We feel that we are a better side than relegation fodder and would see ourselves as mid-table pushing on towards the upper end of the table. The media locally have been supportive of the new regime and will give time for Irvine to settle as it is obvious we are in the position we are in due to the previous management.
Q: Sod's Law and seven goals in five games for Patrick Agyemang since you let him go for £350,000.But it appears you missed a trick.... Why is he now hitting the back of the net?
A: Towards the end of his stay, I don't think his heart was in the club as he was out of contract in the summer. He never performed consistently and always had regular hamstring problems. He is pacy but was mostly used as an impact player and his stamina for lasting 90 minutes was poor. I think he will do well if he can stay fit.
Q: How many Preston fans do you expect to make the trip to Colchester? It'll be the last time they can see Layer Road! Do you have any personal memories of our ground?
A: The only time I have been to Layer Road was back in '99 on a Friday evening when we lost two one after taking the lead and having a guy sent off. We never seem to profit at Colchester no matter how well we do in the league!
Q: Be brave. Predict a score...
A: I think our recent home form may well transfer away from Deepdale and possibly a 2-1 victory for the Whites.
Thanks Simon of the Preston North End Mad webzine! May the best team win and good luck for the rest of the season!
To visit Preston Mad, click here