Dunne Looks To Doncaster
Ahead of tomorrow's trip to high-flying Doncaster, boss Joe Dunne has insisted that the side have to believe that they are capable of winning the game if the U's are to pull themselves away from trouble.
'It can be achieved, can't it?' Dunne said whilst speaking to BBC Essex. 'We did it ourselves away at Swindon, so it is doable.
'The players have to believe that they can win and we have to go into every game believing that.
'As staff we've never taken that belief away and we're always going out set-up to win the game but, for whatever reason, it just hasn't been happening at the moment.'
January is set to be a massive month for the U's, with crunch games against fellow strugglers Scunthorpe, Hartlepool and Walsall to follow, as well as a visit to Portsmouth to open up February.
Coupled with any transfer activity it could be pivotal in the quest for survival, and Dunne explained that the players have been set a target for each of the season's remaining months.
'We've set ourselves a target for January,' he explained. 'we've tried to break it down for the players by the amount of points we want to try and get from each month, so they know exactly where they stand.'
A problem that has prevailed for the U's in the two defeats against Brentford and Crawley has been falling behind within the opening five minutes but, according to Dunne, the side are being prepared as well as they can be to prevent this.
'You try and get people relaxed and pysched up for the game, but ultimately it just comes down to people and their willingess to defend that goal in the early part of the game.
'We've been chasing games from the first ten minutes, and we changed systems to go to Bournemouth and Walsall to try and stay in games; the longer we stay in games gives us a chance to pick up points.'
It is still unknown whether Josh Thompson will be available for tomorrow's trip. The centre-half made his loan deal permanent this month, but it isn't yet known whether his suspension will have taken place on New Year's Day or not.
Elsewhere in the defence, Dunne confirmed that Tom Eastman is expected to remain sidelined with a groin injury and the availability of John White is also still uncertain. White missed Tuesday's defeat at Crawley through illness and, having not trained as yet, he may not have the energy from recovery.
The U's hosts tomorrow, Doncaster, will be without Billy Paynter up front after he picked up a controversial red card in Rovers' 2-2 draw with Sheffield United on Tuesday.
Manager Dean Saunders has opted not to appeal the decision due to a lack of video evidence, and he has since suggested that the anger felt towards the decision could help to spur his side on against the U's.
'Sometimes things like this happen during the season and they make you stronger as a unit,' he told the Star. 'Hopefully it`s had that effect on the players for Saturday.
'Colchester have lost seven on the trot, and it`s a club record if they lose eight, so they`ll be coming here to try and put that right.'
Rovers go into tomorrow's game in good form, with just one defeat in their last nine fixtures and on the brink of the automatic promotion places, three points behind leaders Tranmere with a game in hand.
It will certainly be a tough ask for the U's, but if they can show the resolve displayed at Bournemouth then there is every hope for frustrating the home side.
U's Form: L L L L L
Rovers' Form: D L W W D
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