Writer: Colchester Dan
Date:Saturday February 9 2013
Joe Dunne believes that a win this afternoon will help to bring Preston into the relegation mix, which he insists makes the game a more attractive proposition as the U's prepare to take on their Lancashire counterparts at 3pm.
North End have won only once in their last twelve matches - against bottom side, Hartlepool - and sit just six points above Dunne's men, who will hope to make the most of the chance to reduce that to three points today.
'Preston aren't on a great run,' he told BBC Essex. 'But we're focusing on ourselves.
'We know was a club what they're capable of; they're a big club with great tradition and are on a difficult run, but we're confident in how we perform and must focus on ourselves.
'We can bring them into the mix with a win and they know that too, so it spices the game up. It's a big game for both clubs and we're ready for it.'
The U's currently have twenty-nine points going into the season's final third, with the common target of fifty points still seven wins away.
Six wins and three draws from the remaining sixteen games is certainly not out of reach by any stretch, but Dunne insists that he is unsure what it may take to reach safety this season.
'I'm not too sure as it's tight down at the bottom,' he reflected. 'We've spoken about how many wins we think we need, but a lot depends on how other teams do.
'We've broken it down into bite size chunks for the players and we just have to pick up points.
'We've talked about a cycle of five games and we've won two and lost one so far, so I'm really pleased with those games for form and how we approached them.
'We made Swindon earn their victory and we threw everything at it. Maybe we've been a soft touch before, but I generally now have great confidence in the group.'
This afternoon's game also sees Graham Westley arrive in north Essex, a man who polarises opinion throughout the sport.
Having taken over at Deepdale thirteen months ago before steering North End to League One safety, many were expecting the Lancashire side to push on for promotion this season.
However, despite a promising start, it hasn't panned out like that and his side arrive at Colchester today with the boss under pressure.
Dunne, though, insists that anyone who is in management is worthy of his greatest respect.
'Graham is his own man and you either like him or you don't,' he finished. 'Since I've taken this job I certainly have the greatest respect for anyone managing.
'He is successful so far though and I'm sure he will go on to achieve a lot more.'
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Date:Saturday February 9 2013
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