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Feature

Season Preview: Colchester United

17 July 2019

We continue our 2019/20 season preview by featuring Colchester United -

Nickname : The U's

Stadium : The JobServe Community Stadium

Capacity : 10,105

Round Trip From The Moss Rose : 421.4 miles

Last Season : 8th

After looking a decent bet for automatic promotion throughout much of the last campaign, Colchester ended the season one point and one place outside the play-off places.

Much of the agonising season finale was due to a run of six defeats in eight games and it was unquestionably this which cost The U's at least a shot at a League One return.

As the Essex side prepare for a fourth season in League Two, they will no doubt be setting their sights on promotion yet again and will definitely be one of the sides to watch.

They will have to do it without play-maker Sammie Szmodics however, after the fan's favourite made the move to Bristol City earlier in the summer.

 

The Gaffer - John McGreal

John McGreal was appointed as Colchester United's First Team Coach in May 2016 and although a managerial rookie, brought with him a vast amount experience from his playing days in the professional game.

As a former defender, John enjoyed a seventeen year career with Tranmere Rovers, Ipswich Town and Burnley - playing over four hundred games before finally hanging up his boots in 2007. 

Born in Birkenhead, John began his playing career in the youth ranks at Tranmere Rovers, before progressing to become a regular First Team player. During his nine years spell at Prenton Park, he made over two hundred appearances in all competitions for the Super White Army. 

During his time in Birkenhead, John played a pivotal role in an illustrious spell for the club which saw them win promotion, reach the play-offs three times and appear in the League Cup Semi-Finals.

After leaving Tranmere for Ipswich Town in the summer of 1999, John helped The Tractor Boys gain promotion to the Premier League - courtesy of a 4 - 2  victory over Barnsley in the Championship Play-Off Final.

McGreal remained at the Suffolk outfit for five years and made over one hundred and fifty appearances for the club, before joining Burnley in 2004. 

The tenacious defender would make a further hundred appearances for The Clarets, as he saw out the remainder of his glittering playing career at Turf Moor.

Following his release from Burnley and subsequent retirement, John studied for his UEFA B license in order to kick-start his new career. 

Joining the Colchester in 2009 as part of the coaching staff, McGreal progressed quickly to become the club's Under 21s manager. 

John's coaching ability helped to provide a springboard into senior football for a number of the young academy graduates. This is exemplified when considering that over the last couple of years the likes of Frankie Kent, Tom Lapslie, Kane Vincent-Young, Sammie Szmodics, Macauley Bonne, Cameron James, Courtney Senior and Louis Dunne have all made their First Team breakthrough at the JobServe Community Stadium.

The season that McGreal was appointed manager, Colchester's opening five league fixtures yielded three wins and one draw which led to him being nominated for the League Two Manager of the Month award for August. 

John was then shortlisted for the same award at the end of 2016, following an undefeated December where Colchester accumulated ten points from a possible twelve - driving The U's away from the dreaded relegation zone. 

John then claimed the Manager of the Month award for the first time in January 2017 - becoming the first Colchester manager to pick up the accolade since Paul Lambert had done so eight years prior.

 

Transfer Dealings.

Out - Brennan Dickenson, Frankie Kent, Sammie Szodics.

In - Danny Collinge, Luke Gambin, Omar Sowunmi, Michael Fernandes, Matthew Weaire, Jevani Brown, Paris Cown-Hall, Dean Gerken.

 

Our Last Meeting.

The U's made the long journey up to the Moss Rose last February, in what proved to be a pulsating Sky Bet League Two encounter.

Scott Wilson opened the scoring just before the interval, as his pristine one-two with Harry Smith create the space for him to fire past Rene Gilmartin.

Frank Nouble restored parity two minutes after the break, as he calmly converted from the penalty spot after Courtney Senior was adjudged to have been impeded in the box.

 

Our Next Meetings.

Home - Saturday 28th September 

Away - Saturday 18th January


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