COLCHESTER United travel to one of the sides snapping at their heels tomorrow when they head to Staffordshire to take on Port Vale.

The Stoke-based team have promotion in their sights and only goal difference is keeping them out of the play-off zone.

They have 51 points from their 33 matches - the same at Cheltenham Town and Bradford City, just above, and only one point behind the fifth-placed U's.

It therefore promises to be a key contest in what is sure to be an expectant Vale Park crowd.

While Colchester have had a mixed week - scintillating against Plymouth Argyle, lacklustre against Grimsby Town - John Askey's side head into the match on the back of consecutive away wins at Northampton Town and Forest Green Rovers.

They are unbeaten in four and have only lost one of their last six.

And in terms of a current form table, they are right up there with the big guns in the division - automatic promotion hopefuls like Crewe Alexandra, Plymouth and Exeter City.

Vale look particularly strong at home and are unbeaten in six at Vale Park, winning half of them.

In fact, they have only lost one league game at home all season and that was against Walsall in early December.

Striker Tom Pope is the main danger man, with ten goals to his name, while Jake Taylor has seven and Richard Bennett six.

Colchester and Vale shared the spoils from a 1-1 draw at the JobServe Community Stadium on the opening day of the season, with Pope's early penalty cancelled out by Luke Norris.

The U's doubled the Valiants without conceding a goal last season, winning 2-0 at home and 3-0 away.

Courtney Senior notched in both matches, with Harry Pell being the two-goal hero at Vale Park on January 12, 2019.