Smith senses chink in Colchester’s armour

Boro boss says now could be a good time to face the U’s, who are in a transitional period

GARY SMITH believes Saturday’s opponents Colchester will push for a top-six place this season following the appointment of Joe Dunne as manager – but the Boro boss hopes his side can take advantage of United’s transitional period before they start firing on all cylinders.

The U’s have struggled so far this season, but won their two matches subsequent to Dunne’s appointment, only to then lose two on the bounce against Yeovil on Saturday and Northampton in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy on Tuesday night.

Smith watched that match in midweek, and believes now is a good time to be facing the Essex outfit, before they make a march up the table.

“They had two good wins in the league and now two defeats, one in the cup in the week. I know Joe ever so well and having seen them on Tuesday I can see he’s tried to impart a lot of his style on the group already,” said Smith. “They look a very good footballing and expansive team and the players he’s brought in with Sanchez Watt, Craig Eastmond and Jabo Ibehre have been really good additions.

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“And there is no doubt in my mind this group will push on and will certainly be pushing for a top-six place. What we need to do is make sure that run doesn’t start too early, and hope we can take advantage of the weekend before they really get into their stride.

“At the moment there are lots of ideas and information being imparted to the group, and I see a little bit of a chink in the way they are playing, but we have to take full advantage of that.”

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Smith says the three loan signings Dunne has brought in will make Boro’s task of winning all three points that much harder at the Weston Homes Community Stadium.

“Jabo is a very good forward at this level – he’s got himself three goals in three games since he’s been there. The two Arsenal boys are technically very, very good so they are good additions to the players they already have,” said Smith.

“Depending on the bodies Joe chooses I think the midfield of Anthony Wordsworth, Marcus Bean and Eastmond is a really good mix. There is a nice balance of energy and tenacity and it will be an encounter where we have to be on our toes.”

Boro haven’t played since last Saturday’s 1-0 win at home to Scunthorpe, and Smith says it has been nice to have a week off to allow his players to regroup going into the weekend.

“It’s been nice to have a couple of days rest and it has given everyone a chance to regroup and recover. It’s a big game at the weekend and the way Joe Dunne has got Colchester playing we’ve got to make sure we’re ready for it because we’re keen to keep this unbeaten run going,” added Smith.

“When you come in and train and you’re doing well it’s enjoyable and there’s a great atmosphere around the place, and the players look ultra confident. But that confidence cannot spill over into complacency otherwise we start to see a very different product.”

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