COLCHESTER United have 13 games to secure their place in the League Two play-offs and defender Tom Eastman feels they have to continue to be positive to make sure they power into the end-of-season shootout this year.

The U’s showed they are being bullish in their approach to points gathering by the way they finished their midweek success against Coventry City as Mikael Mandron’s late goal secured a 2-1 victory and three more valuable points.

Added to three they picked up against Newport County and the one from the 1-1 draw at Carlisle United last weekend and John McGreal’s side will head to Crewe Alexandra in confident fashion tomorrow.

And Eastman says they should be looking for another good haul against a team sitting third from bottom in the table.

There was a strong finish to the campaign last season for Colchester when they picked up 19 points from their final 13 games and although they came up agonisingly short then, Eastman feels another good concluding spell will be enough to get them up into the top seven this time.

“We’ve still got a good number of games left and enough points to play for,” he said.

“Last year, our run-in was really good and if we can replicate anything like that then we have a chance.

“It’s going to be tough because there are a lot of teams going for the play-offs and it’s a really tight league, but as long as we keep the wins coming - especially at home - then we can feature in them.

“What we have to do is make sure that the single points that would come from draws are turned into three as much as we can.

“Sometimes it’s nice to get a point away from home, but where we are - chasing those play-offs - I think we really need the three points.

“We don’t have to win every game, but we have to play for that and be positive.

“We definitely have to go for three points at home, like we did on Tuesday and look to pick up what we can on the road - preferably three.”

Eastman said it had been good to see in the last three U’s games the return to the starting line-up of club captain Luke Prosser, who has slotted straight back into the defensive unit after a 15-month knee injury alongside Eastman.

Prosser’s return has given head coach McGreal further options for his back line and, with Ryan Inniss also now back from injury, Eastman feels it is good to have that competition for places in a key part of the campaign.

“Luke had been out for a long time and it’s been great to see him come back in,” added Eastman.

“He’s a great presence to have there and he’s fitted straight into the three that we’ve had at the back.

“There’s also Ryan (Inniss), who has been out injured but is now back and has been on the bench, so we have competition for places in defence now and that’s always good to have.

“We have competition for pretty much every space throughout the team in fact and that keeps everyone on their toes.”