Mikael Mandron says Colchester United have a top-three finish in their sights as they aim to end 2017 on a high.

The U’s lie fifth in the League Two table and are one of the division’s in-form teams, having lost only two of their last 15 league games.

Colchester lie just a point off the automatic promotion places as they head into their final match of the calendar year at Chesterfield, on Saturday.

Striker Mandron insists the whole squad are confident they can help the club return to League One, after a two-year absence.

Mandron said: “I hope we can get promoted – that’s the goal and if we can get any closer to that top spot, then we’ll see.

“At the minute, we’re just trying to get into that top three and we’ll see from there.

“The target is automatic promotion – you have to set yourself high targets and try and reach them and that’s what we’ll go for.

“We have a momentum building and we feel we can really do this.

“We need to keep working hard every day in training and every game and hopefully, we’ll get there.

“We just want to keep going and keep that form going and it would be great to finish the calendar year with a win.

“It would round off the year nicely and definitely set us up for the next year coming, too.”

Mandron netted his eighth goal of the season in Colchester’s 2-0 triumph at Crawley Town, on Boxing Day.

The Frenchman is second behind Sammie Szmodics in the U’s leading scoring stakes and the pair have scored 20 goals between them so far, this season.

Szmodics is in electric form having bagged seven goals in his last eight games and Mandron says the Colchester-born youngster is in excellent shape.

Former Wigan Athletic forward Mandron said: “At the moment, Sammie looks like he can’t stop scoring and he’s just got to keep going.

“It’s great for the team and at the minute, he’s just on fire.

“He looks like he’s going to score every time he’s in front of goal.

“It’s quite good – when you’ve got someone like Sammie who’s able to score 12 goals, it helps the team and helps everybody.

“If we can keep it going in the second half of the season, it’ll be great.

“I think I can catch him and I’m working towards it – one goal at a time.”

Mandron, who has scored in two of Colchester’s last three League Two games, added: “It’s going well and I need to keep it going.

“As a striker, you’re just looking for those goals and at the minute, they’re coming and hopefully that will continue.”