A point gained

COLCHESTER United finished 2017 in the same way as they started it – with a clean sheet.

John McGreal admitted he was disappointed not to claim all three points, following their 0-0 draw at Chesterfield.

But the U’s head coach also acknowledged that they came up against a team who were not going to make it easy for them in front of their own turf, despite the Spireites’ lowly position in the league.

When Colchester last won promotion back in 2006, there were plenty of occasions where they had to settle for a draw when they would have dearly loved a victory.

One such time was a 2-2 draw at Chesterfield’s old Saltergate home, in the final weeks of that memorable campaign.

In the end, that point ultimately proved the difference between Phil Parkinson’s side securing automatic promotion and having to settle for a play-off place.

Witty response

TOM Eastman’s quick-witted response in a post-match interview to a question about Sammie Szmodics’ missed chance in Colchester United’s draw at Chesterfield said much about the attacker’s rich vein of form.

“He really needs to work on his finishing, doesn’t he?” quipped the U’s defender, in reference to Szmodics’ excellent goalscoring run.

Szmodics might not have found the net at the weekend but he is still one of League Two’s leading goalscorers.

With seven goals in his last nine matches, will be brimming with confidence heading into tomorrow’s home clash with Cambridge United, whose assistant manager is his former boss Joe Dunne.

How dearly the Colchester-born youngster would love to score again, against the man who handed him his full senior debut back in September, 2013.

Home, sweet home 

COLCHESTER United will be pretty glad to have back-to-back home games to look forward to, with three of their last four fixtures in League Two having been on the road.

That has nothing to do with their away form which has been impressive but more to do with convenience, following the travel problems they experienced on their way up to Chesterfield on Friday.

A few miles north of Birchanger, a problem with the wheel arch on the U’s team coach resulted in a frustrating two-and-a-half hour wait for a new bus and a very late arrival in Derbyshire.

A case for the defence

WHEN influential defender Ryan Inniss was ruled out for a number of weeks with a shoulder injury earlier this month, Colchester United supporters were a little worried.

After all, the Crystal Palace defender had been in excellent form for the U’s since arriving from the Premier League side, as part of a three-man defence.

Colchester have not tasted defeat in any of the four games the centre-back has missed, despite having changed formation and reverted to four at the back.

The U’s have conceded just once in their last three games and have looked watertight at the back, in part testament to the form of the likes of Frankie Kent, Tom Eastman and goalkeeper Sam Walker.

Forward thinking

SANMI Odelusi will officially leave Colchester United today, after they chose not to extend his short-term contract.

With fellow attacker Nicke Kabamba having already returned to parent club Portsmouth earlier this month following an unproductive loan spell, the U’s might well make bolstering their forward options their top priority when the transfer window reopens tomorrow.

Colchester will bring in forward options in the coming weeks but Kurtis Guthrie’s appearances as a late substitute in each of their last two matches also gives them another option and offers encouragement that he is on the road to recovery.

With Brandon Hanlan not having started any of Colchester’s last seven matches having previously been a regular in their starting line-up, it will be interesting to see if his loan from League One side Charlton Athletic is extended.

One thing is for sure, John McGreal will be reluctant to lose either Sammie Szmodics or Mikael Mandron next month, with the pair having contributed more than half of the team’s goals in the first half of the campaign.