John McGreal thinks the race to clinch a League Two play-off spot will go down to the wire.

And the Colchester United head coach believes as many as 14 teams will be vying for the four available spots, in the final weeks of the campaign.

Colchester currently lie five points off the top-seven and host bottom club Barnet tomorrow knowing a win is imperative, with 12 games remaining.

The U’s missed out on clinching a play-off spot by a single point on the final day of last season and boss McGreal feels their fate could well be decided at the last minute again.

McGreal said: “In this division, every team beats each other.

“It’s fine margins and there are some big clubs down near the bottom of our league and big clubs have gone out of the division, too.

“Anything can change and come Saturday at 5pm, we could be in a good healthy position.

“Now the likes of Cambridge and Carlisle have picked up and I’m sure that they will believe that they can get into the play-offs.

“It’s any between 13 or 14 teams who think they have a good opportunity.

“It was a similar thing to last season when it went down to the last game and I can’t see it changing.

“It’s so competitive in this division and wins are precious because three points does make a difference.”

Colchester were beaten for the first time in six matches when they lost 1-0 at Crewe Alexandra, last weekend.

But McGreal is staying upbeat and insists there is plenty to be positive about.

“It’s only four defeats in about 20-odd games so it depends on how you dress things up,” he said.

“I’m more glass half full than half empty and in the next 12 games, I’ll be looking to get as many points as we can to try and achieve what we think we can achieve, this season.

“All we can try and do is get us to win games of football and see where that takes us - that’s what I’ve tried to do, since I took over.

“It was a club that was losing games consistently week after week and Steve (Ball) and I have tried to win games consistently.

“We’ve been in and around the play-offs over the two years and it’s a good positive base to build on.

“We have tons of young lads coming through the academy making 100-plus appearances each, so there are a lot of positives.”