After a hard fought point on the road at Stockport last weekend Town get to set to face Colchester at home ahead of a tough pair of fixtures away from home at Mansfield and Crewe.
The 1-1 draw at Edgeley Park means Town have been defeated just once in nine games, posting six victories in a run of form that has put them outside of the playoff positions only on goal difference.
With three managers at the helm during the 2022/23 season, the U’s pulled away from relegation danger late in the season to finish in 20th position on 49 points.
They find themselves in a similar position this season too, coming into the clash in 21st spot on 29 points and with Danny Cowley their third manager in charge with both Ben Garner and Matthew Etherington having departed during 2023/24.
Since Cowley took charge they are unbeaten through four games, drawing three and posting a 1-0 win at Morecambe on their last away outing which also saw a first clean sheet in 15 fixtures.
They have won four and taken 13 points from their 15 games away from home this season.
Town triumphed 2-1 earlier in the season when Sam Folarin struck ten minutes from time to seal the points after Matty Daly had cancelled out Chay Cooper’s opener.
At The Envirovent Stadium, Town have won one and lost two of their three meetings to date. Last season goals from John Akinde, Noah Chilvers and Junior Tchamadeu put the U’s 3-0 ahead before Luke Armstrong netted a late consolation.
In 2021/22 Town took an early led thanks to Jack Muldoon but goals from Freddie Sears and Noah Chilvers just before half-time saw the visitors run out 2-1 winners. In 2020/21 Town got their only home win when Mark Beck, Will Smith and Josh McPake were on the scoresheet in a 3-0 victory.
The man in charge
Danny Cowley took charge after Matthew Etherington was replaced following a poor spell of results since he himself was appointed following the dismissal of Ben Garner.
Cowley as a player saw action at non-league level for the likes of Dagenham & Redbridge, Boreham Wood, Hornchurch and Concord Rangers, who he became manager of in 2008 until 2015 when he moved to Braintree Town.
He guided them to the National League play-off semi finals before taking Lincoln City back into the league and quarter-finals of the FA Cup. He had a brief spell in charge at Huddersfield before most recently being manager at League One side Portsmouth.
Ones to watch
The U’s were dealt a blow in early January when top scorer Joe Taylor, who had netted 11 times, was recalled by parent club Luton Town and loaned to League One side Lincoln City.
Midfielders Arthur Read and Cameron McGeehan have both found the target on five occasions, with young forward Samson Tovide scoring four times. Fellow youngsters Bradley Ihionvien and Jayden Fevrier have assisted on three and four goals respectively.
Back in the visitors defence will be former Town-man Connor Hall, part of the side that earned promotion to the EFL as well triumphing in the FA Trophy, who recently returned to the line-up following injury.
During the January transfer window the club added Riley Harbottle, Jayden Richardson, Alistair Smith and Harry Anderson on loan deals with forward Conor Wilkinson joining on a permanent basis from Motherwell. All have seen meaningful minutes since arriving.
A long-time member of the Football League for most of their existence, Colchester have found themselves in League Two since suffering relegation from League One in 2016.
They did though spend two years in the Championship between 2006 and 2008, achieving a highest finish of 10th place before being relegated to League One after the 2007/08 season.
Their all-time appearance holder is Micky Cook, who featured over 600 times for the club in the 1970’s and early 1980’s, whilst Tony Adcock netted 149 times across two spells in the 1980’s and 1990’s.
Town continue to be without longer term absentees Mark Oxley, Lewis Thomas, Rod McDonald and Sam Folarin but could have Toby Sims and Abraham Odoh back, after our number 9 limped off at Stockport a week ago.