Colchester United head coach John McGreal insists his substitutes will have an important role to play between now and the end of the season.

The U’s have boasted a strong bench over recent weeks, with the likes of Brennan Dickenson, Sammie Szmodics and Sean Murray all aiming to make an impact coming on in games.

Colchester’s attacking options have been particularly strong, with the likes of Szmodics, Kurtis Guthrie, Liam Mandeville and Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe among the substitutes of late.

An impressive 14 goals have come from players coming off the bench with only five teams having netted more goals via substitutes than the U’s in League Two, from 2016-17.

McGreal said: “We have got a strong bench, if we keep those boys fit.

“Right throughout my tenure here, I’ve tried to use the subs as much and as often as I can, whether it’s shoring up defences or going for goals.

“It didn’t work as well as it has done of late at Crewe but it’s generally worked.

“The most important thing is that they affect the game, when they come on.

“They’re very important and we make them feel wanted, because they can come on and affect the game.

“The number of goals we’ve scored off the bench shows how they have something to prove when they come on the pitch.

“We’re trying to create an atmosphere where players are playing for their places – that’s the main crux of it.

“We’re keeping that close-knit unit and siege mentality which we’ve successfully built up over a number of months where we’ve only lost a handful of games.

“We’re look to continue that between now and the end of the season, because the players are the ones who have got us into this position.”

This weekend, Colchester host a Barnet side rooted to the bottom of the League Two table following a 3-1 home defeat against Carlisle United, in midweek.

The U’s are also coming into this weekend’s game on the back of a loss though, following their 1-0 reverse at Crewe Alexandra.

“We’re not going to take Barnet lightly,” said McGreal.

“Graham has gone in there and tried to shore things up and got some good results, apart from Carlisle the other night.

“They’re fighting for their lives but we’re fighting for our lives to try and get into the play-offs, so it should be a good game that both teams will try and win.

“Barnet will be hard-working, well-drilled and a team that will try and win a game of football to get themselves out of their predicament.

“Whatever it is in this league, there are teams with things still left to play for whether they are at the top or the bottom because it’s so tight.

“Points are precious at this time of the season.”