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Thursday, April 08, 2010

Big Match Preview

League One
Colchester United vs. Swindon Town
Saturday April 10, 15:00, Weston Homes Community Stadium

Two sides striving to make sure they're not playing in League One next term clash in Essex this weekend as top six contenders Colchester and Swindon clash.

For the home side, a place in the play-offs is the target, while their visitors will be hoping to go one better. They're also divided in their current form though.

Colchester are currently on their poorest run of the season - eight games without a win - while a fine run from Swindon have now propelled them into second place.

It's been a surprise season of success for the Wiltshire outfit, with few pundits expecting them to challenge as high as they have during the course of the campaign.

However, with the experienced Danny Wilson at the helm, the Robins have put together a six game unbeaten run - including keeping clean sheets in five wins.

Among those wins was an impressive 1-0 victory at in-form Southampton, and a crushing 3-0 win on Easter Saturday at promotion rivals Leeds. Their only draw was also credible - coming against league leaders Norwich.

Their success this season has not just been built on a tough defence though - striking duo Billy Paynter and Charlie Austin, who was signed from Non League team Poole, have notched 40 league goals between them.

Other notable names in the Robins team include experienced keeper David Lucas, former Leeds man Jonathan Douglas, and winger John-Paul McGovern.

Wilson, who twice led Bristol City to the play-offs in League One, will be hoping to go one better with Swindon this time around therefore. He will also be aware that his side could face an important last day showdown at top two rivals Millwall.

Manager Danny Wilson has orchestrated Swindon's bid for automatic promotion

For Colchester, a place in the top six would be most welcome though. After an excellent campaign under Aidy Boothroyd - who replaced Norwich-bound Paul Lambert - the U's have hit a rocky patch.

A poor Easter - coupled with good results for Huddersfield - have left United in 7th, three points off the final play-off spot.

It now appears to be a two horse race between Boothroyd's side and the West Yorkshire outfit for 6th spot and a shot in the end of season lottery. A fact which makes the two team's meeting on May 1 even more important.

Colchester will be hoping to have regained some kind of form before then - they have lost their last four away games, but with only three defeats in 20 at home, they remain hard to beat on their own patch.

Stand-out performers for the U's this term include strike duo Kayode Odejayi and Kevin Lisbie. The pair have caused defences throughout the division trouble with their power and physical strength, and have scored a combined 22 goals.

The Essex side have also recently signed Middlesbrough defender Franck Queudrue on loan, and another notable name is ex-Southampton and Leeds man David Prutton.

If this game was to be decided on form, then there'd only be one winner, but we all know football isn't as simple as that.

It's difficult to not see Swindon scoring - and only once this season have they lost in a game in which they've found the back of the net.

However, Colchester are in desperate need of points and, when taking into account their good home record, they should be able to take a draw from this encounter.

Nobes' Prediction: Colchester United 1 Swindon Town 1

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