Season Preview – Colchester United
Last season finish – 23rd League One (R)
Manager – Paddy McLaughlin
Season Prediction – 8th
Odds – Win outright 20/1
For the first time since 1998, Colchester United will ply their trade in the fourth tier, after a disappointing 23rd place finish in League One. With a defence that conceded the most goals in the Football League, it’s little wonder Colchester went down. The U's conceded three goals or more on seventeen occasions, and despite a brief upturn in form over Easter, Colchester became the second casualty of League One courtesy of a Lucas Akins hat-trick against Burton Albion.
This time again, it's much different. A new manager in Paddy McLaughlin and a fresh squad, the hopes of the season are much more different as Colchester are in sought of a return, realistically via the playoffs.
Luke Prosser (Northampton Town), Denny Johnstone (Birmingham City), Courtney Senior (Brentford), Brennan Dickenson (Gillingham), Dexter Peter (Millwall), Ben Wyatt (Maldon & Tiptree), Doug Loft (Gillingham), Kurtis Guthrie (Forest Green Rovers) Craig Slater (Kilmarnock), Tarique Fosu* (Reading), Rekeil Pyke* (Huddersfield), Dean Brill (Motherwell), Tommie O'Sullivan (Cardiff,) Lloyd Doyley (free), Jermaine Grandison (free), Bradley Fewster* (Middlesbrough), Sam Hart* (Liverpool)
Tosin Olufemi (released), Darren Ambrose (released), Nicky Shorey (released), Elliott Parish (released), Marvin Sordell (Coventry City), Marley Andrews (released), Kieran Bailey (released), Tyler Brampton (released), Gavin Massey (Leyton Orient), George Moncur (Barnsley), Alex Gilbey (Wigan Athletic), Joe Edwards (Walsall)
*Loan until the end of the season.
As mentioned it's been all change and the two arrivals from Gillingham are perhaps the most key; Brennan Dickenson on the wing and Doug Loft in the centre of midfield. Kurtis Guthrie will look to step up from the Vanarama National and provide the goals with Bradley Fewster and George Porter. Luke Prosser should also add the required steel to a leaky defence, alongside former Wolverhampton Wanderers centre back George Elokobi.
Kevin says - "You just have to look at the mass turnover of players to see it's a fresh start at Colchester. It was going to be a challenge trying to replace the likes of George Moncur and Alex Gilbey, who could have been seen as playing with a squad far below their standards, but the replacements brought in have been solid, for example Brennan Dickenson.
With a young and talented manager it seems, the expectations of this season could be high for the U's fans. However, it'll all be down to whether the squad can gel quickly and get results needed at the start of the season to see if they can aim for the expected playoff place they seek here at The Weston Community Homes Stadium."