As Colchester United travel to Hertfordshire this weekend, Joe Dunne will be pleased that, having required his players to show an immediate response to last weekend's disappointing performance, they did just that in midweek and emphatically rose to the challenge against the form team in League One.
The struggle for the U’s has been consistency though and, with two games away from home in a four-day period, Joe will be looking for those players to rectify that, beginning this Saturday against Stevenage.
The Boro earned a second consecutive play-off berth last season to attempt back to back promotions, but were foiled in their attempt to return to Wembley where they hold the illustrious honour of being the first team to win in the new era, back in 2007 against Kidderminster Harriers.
What a difference this campaign has been and they enter this game on a losing streak of five consecutive matches with a poor record of only one win in their last nine home appearances. This has left them sitting just eight points above the U’s with 12 matches remaining this season.
Stevenage’s continued decline has to be a worry to manager Gary Smith as they could easily find themselves drawn into the battle to avoid the drop, not helped by seemingly developing a recent penchant for losing to teams involved in the relegation fight.
Col U should be emboldened by this and they will be hoping the home side intends to continue giving up all three points as they did to Oldham, Shrewsbury and Scunthorpe in their last three outings.
The fuel of the fire for United should be that the clubs have only ever met three times, but things have got progressively better for us from that first meeting which was a loss, through a draw in the second at Broadhall Way and then keeping maximum points in Essex back in October courtesy of a sole strike by Sanchez Watt.
After coming in for some criticism about conceding goals against Tranmere, young Sam Walker will be buoyed by a clean sheet against Yeovil, his third in a Colchester United shirt, as should the whole defence.
The substitution of Jabo Ibehre on Tuesday night after him signaling to the bench about trouble with his hamstring will be a concern entering into this match, but otherwise Colchester United should come bounding into this tie full of confidence against a team who are in a polar opposite situation.
Add to this factor that the teams around us are meeting some of the teams in the top six, a role reversal for how our fixture list has been of late, this sees an opportunity for closure of the gap between the teams above us and to move out of the bottom four.
Match Prediction: 2-1 Colchester "Up the U’s"
Written by @tom_mccormack