Colchester United’s players are about to embark on a hectic festive fixture schedule with their home game against Port Vale tomorrow the first of four games in the space of nine days.

The gruelling schedule is a popular part of English football tradition at this time of year but a far cry from other European leagues, where clubs are now embarking on a relaxing winter break.

Mikael Mandron grew up in France, where players in the top division often take a rest for up to three weeks and there is an emphasis on spending time with family and friends.

But having plied his trade in England for six years now, the Frenchman is far from daunted about the prospect of the games coming thick and fast, over the coming days.

“I’m pretty used it now,” said Mandron, who emerged through the renowned Clairefontaine Academy, near Paris.

“I love playing football so the more games, the better.

“This doesn’t happen in France – you get ten days to a couple of weeks off with the family there but it’s a bit different here!

“We’ll be training on Christmas Eve and on Christmas Day as well, ready for the Boxing Day game.

“At the minute, I think everyone’s enjoying coming in with the atmosphere within the team and the form of the team at the minute - it’s a great place to be at.

“When you win you get to enjoy the game immediately afterwards and when you come back to training, the spirit is up.

“It takes your whole momentum going forward into the next game.”

Colchester head into the Christmas and New Year programme in confident mood, after a run of two defeats in 13 league matches left them just outside the League Two play-off places.

“We’re playing well at the minute and we’re winning games, so everybody wants to be in the team,” said the former Sunderland striker.

“When you’re in the top half of the table, one win doesn’t really take you up that much and you need to keep it going game after game and we’ve been able to do that, over the last couple of months.

“We just need to keep that going now.

“Teams will try all they can to stop us but there’s a huge confidence in the team with everyone enjoying playing together and there’s a lot of trust there.

“When you’re doing well, you just want to keep the games going and get another win.”

Mandron is enjoying a blossoming forward partnership with Sammie Szmodics, with the pair having hit 17 goals between them so far for the U’s this season.

The duo were on target in the 3-2 triumph at Swindon and the ex-Wigan Athletic man says that can only be good for the team.

He added: “The goals that Sammie scores bring a huge lift to the team.

“It’s great playing with him and he’s always looking to get on the ball and get in and around the box.

“He’s the one who runs in behind and I like to drop in, so we’ve got a good balance.”