COLCHESTER United head coach John McGreal says his players are ready to embrace the challenge of facing the league leaders tonight.

The U’s host top-of-the-table side Swindon Town at the JobServe Community Stadium, aiming to boost their automatic promotion hopes with a win.

Colchester head into the game on the back of a 15-match unbeaten run and a creditable away point at second-placed Exeter City, last weekend.

The U’s lie fifth in the League Two table and boss McGreal says it is a game that they are all looking forward to.

McGreal said: “It’s another huge, tough fixture.

“They don’t come any tougher than Exeter away and then Swindon at home.

“It was similar at the end of last season, when we play MK Dons at home and then Lincoln away.

“I can’t wait and it’s what you want.

“We’re playing the top of the league side and it’s great.

“You want to play these teams and we’re hoping that again the fans will turn out in numbers.

“It stops all the training – that’s the big thing.

“The games are coming thick and fast and if you ask the players, they want games rather than training.

“We’re in the midst of a chunk of games but it’s great.

“We’re 15 unbeaten; it’s a win and two draws this week.

“Yes, we want the wins but you’ve got no divine right to win games of football at this level.”

Colchester are drawn six of their last seven matches in League Two but lie just four points off the top three, with 17 games remaining.

“It’s a great test for our lads now, to see where we are,” said McGreal.

“We’ve got ourselves into a really healthy position after the cup runs and what we’ve done this year, we’ve become a bit of a name as well for teams to try and beat, as Newport were with the cup runs they’ve had.

“The boys are finding different challenges week after week and at the minute, they’re standing up to them.

“Hopefully, in the next 17 games we can get to where we want to.”

Colchester will check on the fitness of attacker Frank Nouble today, after he missed their 0-0 draw at Exeter with a back injury.

The U’s are also hoping that winger Callum Harriott will be fit, after he played at Exeter despite carrying a knock.

McGreal added: “Callum is another warrior, because he had a really tight hamstring and Achilles but he wants to try and play and perform and do things on the pitch for us.”