Morecambe manager Jim Bentley expects a very difficult game at Colchester on Saturday, despite the Essex side’s defeat to Stevenage on Boxing Day.
The U’s are currently fourth in the Sky Bet League 2 table, level on points with third place Mansfield, and the Shrimps boss admits that his team are the underdogs.
Bentley said: “We’re going to Colchester now, up until Boxing Day they were third from top but they’ve just been beaten by Stevenage 2-1 at home.
“They won all the stats with regards to possession and attempts and things like that but Stevenage came away 2-1 winners.
“We know from seeing them earlier on in the season that they are a very good side.
“First half they were excellent here, one of the best sides we’ve seen, but having said that second half was one of our best performances this season and we should have got a draw in that game, if I am being honest.
“Like any team there will be strengths and weaknesses that lie within the opposition.
“They have scored a lot of goals, the goals are spread around the team.
“The centre halves have chipped in with a few, (Luke) Prosser, one of the centre halves has scored two in the last two games, I don’t think he’s scored for two years before that, so he’s going to be a danger from set plays.
“And at the top end, (Luke) Norris, (Frank) Nouble, (Sammie) Szmodics – they’re all good players, they’ve all got goals to their names this season.
“It’s a tough place to go.
“We’ve defended well there over the years, we’ve got a couple of draws down there.
Colchester’s current position in the league certainly does not shock Bentley, as the Shrimps boss believes that they invested well over the summer.
He added: “Someone said to me the other day ‘they’re a surprise package’. Not for me, I thought they looked a good side last season and recruitment in the summer has been very good.
“The likes of Harry Pell, who we know very well from Cheltenham going in there, Frank Nouble going in, I think he’s got about eight goals for them already, or six goals.
“They’ve recruited well, they are a good side, they are a good footballing side.
“They’ve got a bit of pace and power and height as well, nice blend of experience and youth.
“It’s away from home, long trip, tough game on paper.
“They are outright favourites like every week we go away from home but we’ve got to have the mentality of what Stevenage or the mentality like when we went to the likes of Forest Green who haven’t been beaten at home and we go there and turn them over.
“We’re going there to try and win or certainly take something from the game.
“But we know it’s going to be a very difficult game for us.”