Colchester United head coach John McGreal believes their win over Newport County can act as a “stepping stone” for them to close in on the play-off places.

The U’s ended a six-game winless run with their 2-0 triumph over the Exiles last weekend to move to within five points of League Two’s top seven, with 15 matches remaining.

Colchester this weekend make the long trip up to Carlisle United, who sit five points below them in the table and boss McGreal now wants his side to kick on.

McGreal said: “We want to keep pushing players on and keep performing and it’s a good group at the minute.

“The key now is for us to build on this win and it’s a stepping stone.

“We have a huge away game at Carlisle this Saturday – it’s a long journey and we need to go analyse what we’ve done against Newport, take all the positives from it and bits that we can work on and continue with the run that we want to go onto.”

McGreal left three of his regulars this season – Sammie Szmodics, Drey Wright and Tom Lapslie – on the bench against Newport.

“I had to make a bit of a stance,” said the U’s boss.

"We’ve got 15 games left and we know it’s going to be tough.

“We’ve got to get a squad that stays hungry and competitive and I think by making the changes, it added that little bit of a bite to training and in the performance.

“It worked against Newport but we need to continue that hard work.

“We can’t lose anyone – that’s the big thing but we did good business on deadline day and we have good options.

“If you look at the options off the bench, we had Ben Stevenson, Sammie Szmodics, Tom Lapslie, Drey Wright, Junior (Ogedi-Uzokwe) who’s come on and Liam (Mandeville), who’s a one-in-three man in this division.”