Opposing View - Stoke City
Vital Stoke editor Chris Baldwin with a view from the Potters` side of the fence ahead of Saturday's clash away at the Britannia Stadium.
Q: With three teams on 69 points, and anyone up to 10th able to make the Championship top-six, would you say this is a 'must win' game for both sides if they are to send their season into extra time?
A: Yes, it`s a must win for both.
Q: The Championship is the world`s fourth-best attended league, but would you agree that it`s all about the Premiership above?
A: The Championship has been exciting this season, with most teams picking up points at some time from teams that the bookies would not have expected, so it`s quite a bit more interesting than the Premiership for those of us in the second tier.
But the Prem is where everyone wants to be and where the best players are to be found.
Q: Arguably if you`d have won at Norwich, Cardiff and Hull, things would be a little clearer for you in terms of standings. But the past is gone, as Tony Pullis has been saying this week, so you`ve got to take the chance?
A: Everyone should be up for it; there are no prizes for coming 7th in a week on Sunday.
Q: The Britannia Stadium is a little different to Layer Drome, and we`ve only picked up a small amount of points away this season. Does that work in your favour?
A: Home form has been up and down to say the least - we`ve probably played better away from home this season.
Q: Which U`s player will you most be fearing and why?
A: Former Potters` player, Chris Iwelumo has had a great season and will be out score against his old club.
Q: Are you surprised by Colchester`s accent this season and have Stoke City met their own goals?
A: I can`t deny that I think you`d have got good odds on Colchester getting into the play-offs at the start of the season, but Stoke also were on longish odds as well.
We`ve definitely exceeded most fans expectations with the change of owner in the summer and the return of a manager that quite a few didn`t want back, but now fans expect us to be up there battling for the Prem.
Q: Kem Izzet and Lee Hendrie will be relishing the chance to meet up again, after the former Villa man`s comments last time out; what do you remember most about the 3-0 U`s win in Essex?
A: You ended our record run of seven games without conceding a goal in some style (I think it took 2 minutes)! Whatever Hendrie may or may not have said about washing cars, his off the field 'reputation` always precedes him and he does have a tendency to overreact.
Q: What is your predicted score?
A: We need the win (as much as you), so my heart says 2-1 to the Potters but my head says a draw and we`ll both miss out on the play-offs.
Thanks Chris! Should be a cracking match; may the best team win!