Colchester United head coach John McGreal insists he will need all of his players to play their part over the hectic festive schedule.

The U’s are bracing themselves for a gruelling period of four games in the space of nine days, starting with their home meeting with Port Vale today.

McGreal has been able to field a settled side over recent weeks, contributing to their fine run of form which has seen them lose just two of their last 13 games in League Two.

But the U’s boss admits he could make alterations to his starting line-up for their coming games, as he bids to keep everyone fresh.

McGreal said: “We’ll need everyone, with four games in quick succession and a bit of distance as well.

“There might be one or two changes because of the number of games and we’ll need all of our players, not just the bench but also people who haven’t been in and around it.

“I enjoy the Christmas period, because there’s a lot of games involved. It’s a lot better when you’re winning games and you’re going into it with a bit of form behind you.

“It’s a good place to come in and train and a good place to come and play football because everyone’s been on a high of late but we need to try and make that continue over the festive period, with four games in quick succession.

“We hope that we have the squad to deal with it. We have a young team and fatigue definitely sets in and you carry bumps and bruises but it’s about the recovery.

“We’re a professional outfit and we’ll make sure that the boys are right and know the itinerary coming up over the next few weeks, to lead into the games in quick succession.”

Only goal difference is keeping Colchester out of the play-off places ahead of their game against Port Vale but they come up against a Valiants side who have experienced something of a resurgence under new manager, Neil Aspin.

“It’s possibly a game between two of the top-six form teams in the division,” said McGreal.

“Neil has got Port Vale going really well and they’ve got back to back wins, so we know it’s going to be a really tough game.

“We’ll do a lot of analysis on what they do but it’s about what we do.

“He’s got them well organised and good players in there as well and a wealth of experience.

“They’re a good team and he’s got them going and they’ve got themselves in a bit of form where they’ve pulled themselves away from it. We have to try and stop that but also build on our past success, as well.”

Colchester will assess the fitness of former Vale loanee Ryan Inniss, who missed their win at Swindon Town with a shoulder injury.