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Match Previews

League 1 Preview: Colchester United

9 June 2015

A preview of the other club in Essex - Colchester United.

We continue our coverage of every opponent the Blues will take on in the 2015-16 season by looking into the other Football League club in Essex - Colchester United.

Who are this lot then?
Colchester United Football Club, the other team in the Football League in Essex. A former Championship side who we've done battle with plenty of times over the years. They've struggled in League 1 over the past few years but have survived and will be hoping for a better campaign in the 2015-16 season.

Did they get up to much last season?
They came close to relegation last season, surviving on the final day of the campaign with a 1-0 win over Preston North End. It had been a season of struggle for the U's and they lost star player Freddie Sears to Ipswich Town in January – a big blow. However, despite looking doomed following a home draw to Swindon on the penultimate game of the season, Colchester stayed up by the skin of their teeth thanks to George Moncur's goal.

Who's the boss?
Tony Humes (below) took over from Joe Dunne in September 2014 and oversaw the club's survival in League One on the last day of the season after their surprise victory at home to Preston North End. The role with Colchester was his first in management after a spell as a youth coach with the U's. As a player, Blyth-born Humes began at Ipswich Town; joining the youth system in 1982. He turned professional three years later and went on to appear 120 times for the Tractor Boys before moving to Wrexham in 1992. He went on to appear over 100 times for the Red Dragons before hanging up his boots in 1999.

Any stand out players?
Youth team graduate Sammie Szmodics (below) really broke through for the U's last season, appearing 35 times and scoring five goals in all competitions. The Colchester-born attacker has been with the U's since 2002 and will be aiming to continue his development in League 1 next season. Gavin Massey has played over 100 times for Colchester since joining in 2012 and he's been a shining light for the club since the move.

Any links?
Quite a few, actually. Three current Blues defenders – John White, Cian Bolger and Ben Coker – are former U's, with White coming through the youth system at the club. Cian spent time there last season on loan from Bolton Wanderers, whilst Ben spent three years with Colchester. Jacob Murphy played for the U's last season on loan from Norwich City, whilst former Southend striker Roy McDonough had two spells as a player and one as a manager of Colchester. Others to have represented both include Pat Baldwin, Sean Clohessy and Dean Morgan.

What's the ground like?
Home to the U's since 2008 after they departed Layer Road, the Weston Homes Community Stadium has a capacity of just over 10,000, and is on the outskirts of the town. 

How far away is the place?
A journey to Colchester is an 80-mile round trip for Blues fans leaving from Southend.

Any big name fans?
Radio DJ Steve Lamacq is a regular at the Weston Homes Community Stadium, but apart from Steve, there's not too many other famous fans of the U's.

Good memories against them?
Southend United wins: 30
Draws: 17
Colchester United wins: 27

It's been over five years since the Blues and the U's did battle in an Essex derby, which was back in League One. Yes, the U's may have won the last two meetings between the two sides, but it's important to remember that the Blues earned victory over them in the first couple of Essex clashes back in the early 50s, and the record doesn't lie – we've beaten them more than they've beaten us!

What are the odds on that?
Colchester United are priced at 28/1 with Sky Bet to earn promotion from Sky Bet League 1 in 2015-16.

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